Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Post

Simply titled, because I am exhausted and couldn't think of anything better. :)

My sweet friend Helen asked me to post something on my blog tonight, so here I am. Posting. Something.

Can you tell I've had a huge few days?! Hmmm. This morning we had a garage sale, and managed to do quite well. The last few items of furniture we didn't sell are now listed on ebay, and all the bric-a-brac and clothes are at the Salvos, meeting up with the other 15 or so bags of stuff I have donated lately! Garage Sales are exhausting at the best of times, but doing one in the midst of packing (9 sleeps to go, aagggghhhh...!) is even worse. And Mr William decided not to settle last night while Stu was out, and I was simply unable to get him down until after 10:30pm. Which meant that I couldn't do the work I'd planned, then relax, then get to sleep myself until after 12am. :( Will seems to have a slight cold today, so perhaps that was what threw him out of routine? Who knows. He also prefers Stu putting him to bed - I have just told Stu tonight that he is never allowed out at night again!!!

Anyway, it has been a very very productive, very very looooong day. Furniture sold, boxes packed, children tended to, meals eaten.

9 more sleeps until we're here.

I swear (figuratively...) that I'm not going to believe it until we're actually there.

So surreal. And SO exciting! :) Thank you Lord!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

News from Today

* We spent the morning shopping for fruit at the market, and going to "Under 8's Day in the Park" in Queen's Park. Very fun for the kids!! Face painting, craft, school bands playing, and an awesome play by Riverside's Prep Class (well done Stu, it was so great!!!).

* Came home to have lunch and put William to bed for his nap. Except........... he didn't nap. He lay there for awhile then began to call out "Mama......... Mama?" in a happy, very awake, crystal clear voice which totally shocked me - he has never done this before! No matter what I tried, he absolutely refused to have a nap. Which means he went to bed tonight extremely tired, but I'm thankful he at least stayed awake through his dinner!! In bed by 7:30pm. I'm hoping he's back to normal tomorrow.

* While the children rested / played / did things of an educational nature ;) / I completely cleaned out our fridge ready for ......... the arrival of our new 2 door, side-by-side fridge/freezer! It's so nice!!! We couldn't fit our old fridge/freezer plus the chest freezer in our new house, so decided to upgrade and get something which would fit in perfectly. And this one will. And it's beautiful. Our old fridge/freezer, chest freezer, and numerous other items of furniture will be going (hopefully) at our garage sale this weekend, to cover some of the cost of our new, beautiful fridge!

* Saraya went to play with Chloe this afternoon. Declan came here to play with Elijah.

* I have packed 0 boxes today. :( But the day's not over yet! As I sit here and type Stuart is out working in the garage, cleaning out junk and getting things ready for the garage sale. So I'm going to get off my behind shortly and do a little packing of some stuff in our room. :)

* Cathy cooked us a delicious dinner tonight - thank you so much my dear friend!

* I have been (in those few quiet minutes!) going over my dance routines in my head a lot today. Last night dance class was so good! I am actually starting to feel confident for the end of year concert which is in 2 1/2 weeks - phew! This November has to be the biggest month of our lives!!

* I got to talk to my beautiful Mum on the phone this afternoon for a short while - I love you Mum, and am missing you so much at the moment. :( Can't wait to see you soon. xo

That's pretty much it. If you're spending time in prayer tonight, please put one up for sweet little Stellan. He could really use some prayers this week! Have a great night everyone. xo :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saraya Catherine

Saraya Catherine - meaning = "Pure Princess"

With her beautiful smile, helpful nature, and this precious new birthday dress from Nanna, Saraya is truly living up to her name this week. I just love my baby girl!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Australia Zoo!

Sickness stopped us from our trip to Australia Zoo last Sunday for Saraya's birthday - but this weekend we made it! It was an absolutely wonderful day. Such a special place, we highly recommend it!

I took loads of photos, but these are my favourites.

It was so nice watching the delight on the children's faces, especially little William. He had never seen anything like what he saw yesterday, and he was so amazed!!

Elijah decided to partake in the pony ride (his first time) which shocked all of us - this is just like him though, he decides things in his own time and once he's ready, he's ready!!!

Just like last time, the tigers just thrilled me - they are so majestic, and strong, and beautiful!! And the glass-sided pool got us up close and personal with these gorgeous creatures. :)

There was time for rides, and lunch, and just cruising around admiring all the beautiful animals in this wonderful zoo.

Happy Belated Birthday Saraya!! :) xoxo

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mucking around.........

............ with the camera. That's what the children and I were doing this afternoon while Stuart was loading up the trailer for the second trip to the dump today. Lots of rubbish = GONE! Oh, and lots of boxes = packed. Again. :)

The results of us playing around with the camera (Saraya took most of these)........

And my absolute favourite one..........

I am so happy with this photo, it's definitely one for framing!

Saraya and Will wanted to go with Stuart on the second dump run, but Elijah was content to stay home with me and chatter. And help with the veggies for dinner. And make little movies with my little point-and-shoot camera! After filming the backyard, and me cooking in the kitchen, he had a special request.

"I want to film you singing, Mama. Sitting in the living room, like a theatre. Can I film you Mama?" How could I say no after he has put up with a busy, phone-talking, packing-up-the-house mother all week long??!

So I said yes. And here it is. Me, singing, for the very first time on my blog. Late in the day, in the middle of dinner preparations, tired, worn out, and above all, spontaneous.


So there you have it. Please don't critique me too harshly even though I know this is the vocal debut I am choosing to show you after all these months of you pleading for a video of me singing.......

Oooo, but stay tuned because soon I'll be showing you another, much more interesting, much more professional and exciting video of me singing. Actually, not just me. There are 8 of us, and we are "Vivace Voices"!!! Coming soon!! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

3 Things

Aside from the washing, the meals, the nappy changes, the running of lavender baths and other general stuff that goes on in our house, we have really only done 3 Things today.

We went to town. We bought fruit and borrowed new books from the library.

So, the children read!!! And read and read and read and read and read ..........

Today is really hot, so right now all 3 kids are wearing very little and are outside playing with water.

And lastly but certainly not leastly, I've been --------- packing.

Yep, the House of Dreams is very quickly becoming the House of Boxes.

3 Things done, and pretty much enjoyed. Reading. Water play. Packing.

A good day. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From the Teacher's Desk.... ;)

Okay, so I just liked the idea of that title - but I rarely think of myself as a teacher, actually. :) At least no more of a teacher than any other parent. We are all teachers, all of the time!

I've been asked lots of questions recently along the lines of "how do you manage to fit everything in?" - that is, three young children, homeschooling, home maintenance, family commitments, exercise, and more recently - everything involved in moving house including PACKING! Well the truthful answer is, I often don't. :) Most days there is something that slips. It might be homeschooling. Or dinner. :) We've had lots of easy dinners lately! Or exercise (this one especially, lately. :( Thank goodness I'll be back at dancing tomorrow....). It is rare that I feel like I've truly achieved everything I want to / need to achieve in a day. But. I am learning to be more content with what I do get done, and stress less about what I don't.

Anyway, I'll stop babbling and start answering some of the questions you've been asking!

How do you get everything done?
I've probably answered that above. I don't!! But I do try. I think time management is important, as well as planning a basic list the night before of what you'd like to get done tomorrow. For me this really helps. It includes everything - house stuff, cooking, homeschooling, phone calls, outings, etc. My diary sits on my kitchen counter and I refer to it a lot during each day. When a quiet moment arises, I seize it! It's hard to plan quiet moments with small children in the house, so when it happens grab it, and do something from that list!! I also constantly pick up. I can't stand masses of mess, so I pick up regularly and definitely get my kids to help.

Do you get any time for yourself?
Yes, absolutely! Not a lot, but just enough. :0) Just like seizing moments to make phone calls or to clean the toilet, I seize moments to just breathe sometimes, too. :) As mothers we may not get a whole hour to ourselves, but we may be able to grab 5 minutes. I've learnt to just enjoy those minutes and try not to resent being interrupted. I'm a stay-at-home Mum for a reason - to look after my children! They are not interruptions. They are my work, and my blessings! 5 minutes checking emails or jumping on facebook, picking up a book to read, or phoning a friend. 5 minutes to pray. 5 minutes to stand outside just watching the sky.
And then there's the evenings. Night time is my true down time. The children go to bed fairly early, and I always do something with my husband and something just for me before I go to bed - often it's blogging, or just reading other blogs I enjoy. And the load is always lighter on weekends too, when there are 2 adults around. :)

How long have you been homeschooling?
We have wanted to homeschool our children since before they were born, and believe we have always homeschooled them - but I've only been homeschooling a school-age child for about 6 months. :)

What curriculum do you use?
I don't use a set curriculum at present. The children are still little, and I don't feel that the purchase of a full curriculum is necessary at this stage. I am enjoying researching what I plan to use in future years though! For now we are teaching the foundations and other things we or the children find interesting. In everything we do I try to find opportunities to tie in the key learning areas. And I prefer to let the children direct their own learning wherever possible. Elijah is still kindergarten age, and his days are completely play based. For Saraya, we have a strong literacy focus and do a lot of reading. If she is interested in something or if there is something I wish to teach her, I will try to find a great book to use as our foundation for learning - either a children's picture book, a junior non-fiction, or a "living book" for older readers or even adults - this is a book written by someone who intimately knows and is passionate about their topic. Interesting books make for interested students!

So.......... for literacy we read, read, read. Saraya also does handwriting activities a few times a week as well as writing her own notes in her Nature Notebook. Other writing may include poster captions for our science unit, story-writing, or writing letters/cards to friends. This is her absolute favourite activity and something she does nearly every day!

For history we are studying Early Australian History, and using "The Australia Book" by Eve Pownall.

Saraya is really enjoying this unit! Because I don't have a curriculum telling me what her follow-up activities should be after learning new information, I create them myself. Sometimes I might ask her to write a few sentences from the book. Sometimes she will create art on what she enjoyed most. Sometimes I will ask her to narrate to me orally everything she can remember from what we have just read, and I note her narration down. We talk a lot, I ask her questions, she asks me questions, and we really have good discussions. I would rather spend an hour looking at something while she is fully engaged in it than put a time limit on a subject and stop her in the midst of great learning.

For maths, we use Mathletics on weekends - she does this with Stuart. Other maths we wind into daily life - time, money, shape, fractions, and simple arithmetic. If you look for them, the opportunities abound!

For science we are learning about the structure and workings of the human body. We have a bunch of resources for this unit, and are also working from a Christian homeschool workbook on this topic as our base. We do regular nature walks, nature journalling and experiments for science as well.

We are currently reading the second Story Girl novel by L.M. Montgomery.

We are learning about composers using - great fun!!!

We aren't doing any formal Bible study at the moment. Our faith is very intertwined into each day though, and I love that Saraya will often ask to turn on her lamp after Elijah is asleep to read her Bible. :) I love that. We pray together, read Bible stories and sing songs together. Next year I have some resources to use with both the older children to learn some new memory verses etc.

And that, my dears, is about it. Do we do all of this every day? No way! I do about an hour of formal learning with Saraya each day. Almost the rest of the day is free for her. SO much learning goes on, all day, every day, without me co-ordinating or planning a single bit of it. That's just how children are. Give them time, and resources, and ideas, and they will just run with them. They are sponges. They are made to learn.

I involve the children in the cooking, the cleaning, the packing. :) We talk together, all the time. Sometimes I long for quiet!! And I usually get it, eventually. :) We are also involved in the community through our friendships, and our interests and hobbies. We usually go to town 3-4 days a week.

How do you homeschool with a baby in the house?

Well. This is indeed a burning question, and one which has taken me on a steep learning curve already this year! I do find having WIlliam around the biggest homeschooling hurdle. If the rest of us are up at the table doing something together, he just wants to be up there too! :) Of course, his version of making patterns with counters is to tip them all over the floor or put them in his pockets. And to him painting art like Mary Pissaro is more like dipping his hands in the paint and painting everything in the room. ;) This has caused lots of tears both for him and for the other children, and sometimes even for me. I realised I had to come up with something that would work for us. I know there are hundreds of homeschooling families out there, many of them with lots of children and babies in the house, so I knew it must be possible!!

I had begun the year doing what most schools do, which is sitting down to start formal learning at 9am. I've since changed things, and our routine looks like this most week days:

6:30am - up and cuddling children, time in prayer, checking emails, opening windows etc.
7am - breakfast and make Stu's lunch; clean-up from breakfast and waving Stu off to work
8am - morning chores for everyone; children begin their free-play time while I continue house chores
9am - children play outdoors
9:30am - children watch Play School; I use this time for phone calls, emailing, washing, cooking, whatever needs to be done
10am - morning tea together, reading together
10:30 - either an outing to town / library / groceries / music group on Tuesdays / visiting a friend etc. OR I put out activities for the children such as painting, craft, playdough, puzzles, games, construction, drawing OR we do a special activity together - something I can walk away from as Will often needs me OR the children play. Sometimes they get into a creative game and there's no stopping them!!
12pm - we eat lunch together; clean up; Will goes down for his nap
12:30pm - Elijah has his quiet time either reading books, using construction materials or playing educational computer software. Now Saraya and I do our homeschooling! This gives me a full hour of uninterrupted time with her and we achieve SO much. I turn the phone off and just focus on her, and it's working so well.
1:30 / 2pm - Saraya finishes up and heads into some quiet alone time. She either makes craft, plays with dolls in a creative game in her room, or uses the computer etc. William is up by now and I spend this time with the little boys. We play, put on some music, read books, or sometimes they just follow me around while I do some house chores. :)
3pm - afternoon tea outside
3:30pm - either the children play outside until baths OR we go to town for afternoon activities
4:30 / 5pm - I cook dinner; children finish play and tidy up then have baths

That is our day in a nutshell! I am finding it very full at the moment with all the extra paperwork and packing related to moving house, but normally our daily routine is pretty manageable. I am so looking forward to resettling in our new home and getting things back to normal again!

This may have been a little long and boring. Just feels good to have finally answered some questions that have been coming my way. :) Now off to have a cuppa and head to bed!...... ;)

Happy Birthday my darling husband!

Yesterday was Stuart's birthday - but he too had succumbed to the dreaded tummy bug and sadly felt just awful - so we are celebrating properly today!!!

Stu, you are such an amazing person. Your zest for life, your enthusiasm, creative talents, sheer awesomeness as Prep Teacher- you inspire me so much!

Thank you for always loving me, despite my many flaws. We have learnt so much together!

Thank you for being such a devoted and loving Papa to our sweet girl and our two little sons.

Thank you for walking this road of life alongside me, and for taking me on so many great adventures with you! I am so excited to get to our new little farm and begin another family adventure.

Most of all, thank you for remaining to be my best friend after so many years. :) I love you!

Happy Birthday honey!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Saraya!

Since the day you were born you have brought us adventure after adventure.

You have filled our days with sunshine.

You have made me a Mother.

You told me today that you will never ever move far away because you will always want to live close to me. :) I don't want to be selfish Saraya, I don't want to stand in the way of God's plans for you - no matter where they may take you - but deep in my heart I DO hope you will always live close by! I can't imagine not getting to talk to you every single day. Even when you are all grown up and have your own sweet babies. I want to cuddle them while you rest. I want to be there beside you through all the wonderful adventures coming your way! I love you so much and I cherish every single day I get to spend with you. :)

Happy Birthday Princess!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sickness and Good News.....

This slightly blurry, hard-to-see, happy photo of my sweet Saraya (and her handsome brother ;)) is the last one I'll be posting of her as a 6 year old. That's right, tomorrow she turns 7!!!! After a hard day for Saraya and I with a stomach bug, Stuart surprised the children tonight with glow-sticks. :) They had heaps of fun with them before bed. I'm praying Saraya and I sleep well tonight, after a shocker last night. :( I detest stomach bugs! Thankfully Stu and the boys have been well thus far, and I'm praying they stay well. I'm so glad I'm feeling better tonight - I honestly wanted to crawl out of my own skin at some point today. :(

So, if we are all well and healthy tomorrow morning we are off somewhere very very special - more details tomorrow night! :) If not, it will be a quiet day at home with presents and cake. Which will still be nice. :)

One last very exciting piece of news................ a couple of hours before I started to become ill yesterday evening, I received a letter in the mail to say that the contract on our house is now UNCONDITIONAL!!! Woohoo!!!! So, we are absolutely out of here in about 21 more days. Wow. SO much to do, but at least we know it is happening! The contract on our new place is still conditional but all should be well with that one - I'm just so glad the new buyers of the "House of Dreams" were happy to take it with all it's older home quirks which surely showed up in the building inspection!

Happy weekend everyone. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What did we do today?

Well, we went to town. We bought fruit at the market, returned DVD's to the library, and had morning tea with a friend at Between the Buns. :)

I packed some boxes. I received some mail regarding contracts which required phone calls and letter-writing I didn't have time for. ;) I wondered how the building and pest inspection reports are being received by our buyers. I thought and prayed a lot. Talked to a friend on the phone. Did the washing. Cooked dinner.

In more interesting news, Elijah wrote his name independently for the first time this morning!! No formal lessons here I promise - just a determined little 4 year old!

He is such a delightful boy, so content and so excited when he achieves something new!

William scooped sand in the sand pit.

For him playing outside just fills him with joy! He still spends much of the day in the backyard.

And someone else who loves the outdoors is Saraya. Oh Lord, please let that 3 acres be ours....

In the middle of all the busyness of life and moving house, Saraya still found time for nature journaling this afternoon. :)

It's been another long and exhausting and hopeful day. I have a feeling they're all going to be like this for the next little while........

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

Today has been a good, long, exhausting day!

I had lots and lots to organise with solicitors, building/pest inspection, figuring out settlement date, etc. as well as assembling and packing boxes (10 today, we're aiming for 10 more tomorrow ;)), and of course the cooking / washing / caring for busy toddler who likes unpacking as I pack / homeschooling / dance class this afternoon that needed to be achieved!!! Boy am I tired........

But we got there, the house is getting some semblance of order to it again tonight and although I had to knock up baked beans and tuna on toast for tea as I forgot to cook dinner, I'm happy with what we managed to fit in today!

Oh, and here's another peek of our new home...........

Dam on the left, 2 long rows of young eucalyptus trees in the front, home high up on the hill. *Sigh*....... Is it really, really real??? :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Princess

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these". Mark 10:14.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dot Points and Photos!

* This morning we signed the contract on our new home. The agent was just so lovely with us and with the children, and suggested we follow her out to 'our' property for a second look (yesterday was a little brief though we all loved it!) and to meet the current owners. SO nice!!!! It still feels surreal though a little more real than it did yesterday!

Another glimpse for you.....

* We spent about an hour out there, talking with the couple who have built up this beautiful place - they talked about the wildlife and the gardens and showed us how to use the bore, and even gave the children some bread to go down and feed the little fish at the dam!

* We all collapsed into a good rest time after lunch. I'm rarely able to nap during the day, but today I did! I think I must be totally exhausted after so much physical and emotional stuff this week..... Good stuff though, very good stuff!

* This afternoon we all enjoyed ourselves at our little friend Blake's 5th birthday party. Which, as you can probably guess by these photos, was a Pirate Party. :) Happy Birthday Blake!!

Saraya just adores this sweet girl- they met during "Wizard of Oz" and have a really sweet friendship. Here Saraya is sharing her scarf, keeping her older friend warm during Pass the Parcel. :) It got really cold at the park. So cute!

Our family in our pirate garb!

* Homeschool for the next few weeks will consist of reading, writing, our usual outings and adventures in town, maybe a little work on our science poster......... and a very interesting subject called moving house. Tomorrow packing starts! And a little family child labour begins. ;) My kids are able, so I'll be working them too! 27 days and counting................

* Tonight I am feeling so undeservingly blessed!!!


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