Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spring is Coming!!

"Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much." - Psalm 199:140

Over time I have made no secret that we have been going through a "winter" season and not just in the literal sense but in a metaphorical sense as well.  This winter has been nearly three years now and our spring "feels" like it maybe just around the corner. We are hoping and praying. Praise God!  Like the time as winter fades and slowing becomes spring where we see less frosty days, more glimpses of colour in places where there was barrenness and dead-ness and we see and feel more of the sun and its warming rays. So is it for us. Gradually we are seeing less and less of the hard, dark and gloomy days where everything seems to be just plain sucky, more glimpses of days where there is a little more colour in our moments and more experiences of lighter times, brighter days and days where we can bask in the warmth of the sun.

Please understand that our winter hasn't been all bad or doom and gloom and while we have had some pretty low days and weeks, it has been an amazing time of cutting back, pruning, reassessing, and walking out our faith one small step at a time.  We have seen God move for us in the last three years than we have ever seen him move in our entire lives. Yes people we are a living testimony that Gods promises are true and his miracles are well and truly alive today as they were over 2000 years ago!

Yes things may have not gone to plan like we thought best but Gods plan for us as individuals, as a couple and as a family has been far better than we could of imagined for ourselves.  Our steps of faith have literally been one day at a time, one meal at a time and one bill at a time.  We have grown in character and in faith over these years.  I can say that while times and days have been hard, damn hard. I will be forever thankful that we had these years.

But in all that......there is a time for everything, a season for everything and I am up for a change now and "feel" that our spring is around the corner. I am believing for it now. And while I am thankful for our winter, and know that our winter has been important,,,,I am tired of winter. Its time for spring! Time for the sun, time for the flowers and the new life that spring brings.  (hey maybe that's why this baby will be a spring baby).  Unfortunately we all need winter times to bring us back to Him, back to our Creator, back to needing him and recognising that we are nothing without Him and without Him everything is pointless.  Without winter we simply cannot have regrowth and new life, redirection or refreshment.

Without winter one cannot simply bloom!

On a lighter note.....thanks to a beautiful friend and her gift to us, we now have a new "member" to our family, Meet....Clara.

She has made herself at home, like a favourite great aunt who comes to stay and sneaks peppermints to the kiddies when the parents aren't looking.  Oh how I love Clara. She is grandly beautiful!!

Only five to seven more weeks to go until we meet our wee blessing!! I have never been one for due dates so somewhere towards the end of Oct-ish, whenever this one decides to make its way into the world.  Exciting times!  Yes I know I need an updated pregnant belly photo...I'll work on it, promise!

One of my favourite things.
For me it epitomizes the new-ness and sacred-ness of a new blessing into the world. 

What season are you in?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Getting my Knit on!

 I am not in the least bit arty, at all. In fact if you ever see me displaying some kind of artistic streak or creativeness then you can be rest assure I am faking it because I have 100% copied the idea from someone or somewhere else.   Yep that's me a big fat faker when it comes to anything arty or creative.  Which is maybe why I like craft rather than art.  Usually with craft you follow a pattern, recipe or step by step guide and if done correctly you will more or less end up with a perfect end product.  Yes that looks the same as everyone else's that has followed the pattern but a perfect workable end product all the same.  I am sweet with that.  It freaks me out when I ask for a recipe from usually one of my chef brother in laws and they say..."Well start with a hunk of that, season it with a handful of that,add this to it and maybe a bit of that and you will be all good"  Ah hello?  I need measurements and amounts people!   Recipes and directions are my best friend.  Without them.....well we would be eating out of tins.

So as of late I have rekindled my skills and knitting needles for knitting and crocheting. Yes we all know that it sounds like I am 72, sitting in a rocker with a brightly coloured crocheted blanket over my lap....but these skills are becoming more and more trendy now and there are some very cool patterns out there.  I prefer to tackle small things for teeny tiny people (babies) as I know I am more likely to finish the item if I see the end in sight.  The last time I tried to knit something for myself ended up being for a little sister who was 7 years younger me! It took me that long!

So here is a peek at the type of things I have been crocheting and knitting lately!

What inspired me to start up my woolly craft, was the need for woollen clothing for wee babes in our community not to mention my own wee blessing due in the vicinity of 7-9 weeks (I don't like due dates).  So apart from knitting a cardigan and booties for this blessing that is currently having a party inside me, most other items are being tucked away for whenever they may be needed. I am getting quite a collection. I only wish I was faster at it either that or I had more time to sit and knit.  But I am not and I don't so I have to make the most of a spare 5-10 mins where I can flick through 5-10 rows at a time. They soon add up!

If you are keen then I encourage you to pick up some needles. Better yet pick some up from the local op shop, they are way cheaper than buying them new. I usually pay between .50c to $2. Which it doesn't make it that much of a disaster when your 20month old feeds them through the gaps in the deck or uses them for drum sticks and consequently snaps the ends off them.  Its all good if you have only paid .50c for them!

Also the world of YouTube and Google can be a wanna-be knitter or crocheters best friend.  You can find out and be shown how to do almost any stitch you come across right there.  Its like having your very own knitting tutor right beside you!  You just type in the stitch name or even just the abbreviation and PRESTO you have a demo!

There are a heap of free knitting patterns to be found on line as well or if you browse sites such as Etsy and Craftsy you will find thousands of patterns usually for a small fee of a couple of dollars. You pay by credit card and you can instantly download the pattern on to your computer.  Really its just so easy and doesn't leave you with a whole lot of excuses for you not to be able to have a go.  Its really just up to you!

Go on, have a go!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Wonder of Learning

One of the best things about having children is watching them discover the world around them in which they live.  I love watching them develop their own interests and believe me they are all so different. I am a firm believer of not leading a child to interests and channeling them into something that you are interested in, no matter what age but especially when they are young.  Yeah sure its easy to introduce and to get excited about things that you like personally.  For me its much easier to get enthusiastic about reading and crafts etc than it is about soccer, gaming and dogs. But I do my best to be interested in these topics especially if they are giving me a blow by blow account of a particular on screen battle or the detailed account of the latest soccer game.  I enjoy knowing that my kids are enjoying things and pursuing the things they love.  Haven't quite got my head around the dog thing though!  Of course a lot of children who are regularly exposed to interests of their parents do tend to develop the same interests along the way.

So at present I am really enjoying watching wee Jesse (20mths) discover his world and develop such an intense passion and interest for tractors, diggers, (any heavy machinery actually), drumming and animals.
The look of immense excitement on his face when he spies a tractor three paddocks over or he hears a cow mooing in the distance is truly priceless!  So you can imagine his reaction when the calves in the paddock next door naughtily broke out of their pen and broke through the fence and into our section.  All his Christmases had come at once!

 Sneaky sneaky calves!

When I can't find Jesse, over the fence is the first place I look and today was no exception. 
 Can you see him?

How about now?

Jesse making conversation with a captive audience!

No fear just totally curiosity!
No 147 was extra abiding and came up close for a pat!

We have to make nearly daily trips to see the calves! 
And of course Jesse loves to play in the sawdust too!

This week also saw excitement for my eldest son Casey (13) he finally was able to purchase (with the help from a blessing from a friend) his long time dream to upgrade from an ordinary bow and arrow like below.

To this serious looking 'now-we-are-talking' compound bow and all its paraphernalia!

He has been saving and patiently waiting for one of these and I love that he has finally has exactly what he wanted! Like any parent, I just want to see my kids happy and happy he is!!!
I am dying to have a go..but haven't yet!  I am now sure I would be able to pull it back!

Most of you would know that we are a homeschooling family and one of the driving forces behind our home school is interest based learning.  Over the week I have watch my youngest son nearly fall of his chair with excitement over finding video clips of 'real life' machines, shove a book on Cranes in my face 57 times a day and drum in rhythm with knitting needles and pots to music.  I have witness my eldest son research, read and write about bows, the history of bows, the parts of a bow and read bow hunting articles with an enthusiasm I just love. This is learning people - self directed learning. And it blesses the socks off me!

I think we are going to have to purchase a drum kit in the near future! 
 He does this every single day!

Somewhere along the way though for a lot of children this passion, this intense drive to learn everything there is to know about something gets lost along the way.  Why is this I wonder?  Are they too busy?  Is there too many options out there to learn about, to know at a deeper level?  Do we parents not nurture or encourage the interest because it doesn't interest us?  Do we not value this kind of learning as true learning?

What are your children passionate about??

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Snow Time

I know I know! I know that at the beginning of the year I set myself a goal to write at least one blog every week.  To date I have kept up with meeting that goal but tonight you will have to forgive me as I make this one nearly all photos. (its not really cheating)  I am just far too tired, fighting off a nasty cough and have not long got home from a lovely weekend away.

We were blessed to be able to take the kids away for the weekend and also make a trip to the snow. First time ever for all of the kids!  It was a real treat too!

The following is some photos of our time at the snow!

Checking out the amazing view from a pit stop on the way up the mountain!

I have to say Jesse wasn't entirely impressed with his snow outing.
Perhaps it was because his mother forgot his bag with his gloves in it and he was forced to wear his cousins pink socks as gloves!

One of my little snow bunnies!

Not impressed at all!!

Unfortunately (or fortunately) this was as far as we got up the mountain as the road was closed to normal vehicles and only with chains or 4wds were allowed up!

The main goal for the day was snowman making!

Wee snowmen were popping up everywhere!!

Of course the boys main aim was to throw snowballs at each other but mainly at Dad!

Something is missing......not sure what though!

Oh there we go, it had to have sunglasses and pink ones at that!!

 Jaydens master piece!!

After our trip to the snow we had a lovely soak in the hot pools too! Bliss!
It was a great weekend and like all weekends away, it wasn't long enough!

What did you do this weekend??

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Last Night Together

You will have to excuse me if I miss any spacebar mistakes that I may miss when re-reading this blog as my 20mth old has pried off the space bar and hid it. We since have found it but its not working like it should - you now have to make an conscious effort to use strength in your thumb for it to work.  He has been doing things like that lately- scally wag!   Today I found the remote to the DVD machine floating upside down in the bath. Fortunately that still works or it was going to be bye-bye DVD machine because you need the remote to work it.  Yesterday it was another remote that had to rescued from the clutches of Jesse who was heading out to the sandpit.  I wonder what I will find where tomorrow?

So tonight it most likely the last night my wee man Jesse and I will have together.  I am sad, so sad. But also maybe a little teeny weeny tiny bit excited. Maybe about 0.5%.  Tomorrow he will be vacating our bedroom.(insert sad face here) Currently we have a giant bed between the three of us, being Jamie, Me and Jesse, a single bed pushed up against the wall and our queen bed jammed up against that.  I can roll and moved between my bed and Jesse's bed with somewhat ease and makes for midnight "uggles" (Jesse's word for cuddle) and hand-holding especially easy.  I will miss that.

But as much as I will miss it, he needs to move in plenty of time for him to get used to being in the same room with big boys and not right next to me before this next wee bubba comes along. I can't work out how I was going to bed-share with one husband, one toddler and a newborn. So with ten, eleven or twelve weeks to go before that happens now is the time. sigh! OH how I hate this!

30 week pregnant silhouette!

Fortunately I have a super duper husband that is prepared to spend the next week sleeping in a bed next to Jesse's in the room with two of the big boys. He is good like that.  And me I will get to have the entire bed to myself, be able to turn on the light at night, maybe even READ before I go to sleep AND be able to slip out of the side of the bed at night (as most pregnant ladies do multiple times a night) and not have to crawl down to the end of the bed to get out.  Now that I am looking forward to.

I ao enjoy sleeping with my children, especially my babies close to me, literally within arms reach. I enjoy listening to their breathing and their gorgeous sleeping sounds.  I love that when they are wee I don't have to get out of bed and up to feed them, we can just cuddle and fall back to sleep together.  I love that their sweet chubby fingers curl around mine or rest against my cheek and their tiny body molds itself into mine. It is so beautiful, so peaceful.  I will miss him, like I have missed all my others.

I know that this isn't everybody's cup of tea or idea of how babies and children should sleep or be put to bed and that's OK. But this works for us and our family and we will never change it.  You best be praying for me (and for Jesse) that this is a smooth transition.

Sleeping so peacefully! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

To Death with Superwomen!!

I cried today. Sat on the floor and cried. Not because I was sad or happy which is quite the norm for me but because my house was messy.  And I mean REALLY messy and I just didn't have it in me to tidy it.  So I cried.  I am such a baby.  I know that sitting on the bedroom floor isn't going to get my house tidy but it felt like the only thing that could be done as I surveyed the Sunday damage.  I call it Sunday damage because it is at its worst on a Sunday. Hey you try and get 8 people of various ages, with conflicting clothing preferences and hair style issues out the door to be on time or even early to church. Todays damage is made worse by a busy week and the kids having friends over which inevitably creates a hiccup in the household routine. (Definitely not saying that they were particularly messing or anything). My missing beater was found half licked in the flannel drawer, my washing of three days ago is still unfolded on the window seat and I let my one year old fall asleep in front of the Wiggles in his high chair.  Today has been one of those days!

People often comment to me (once they find out how many children I have) that I must be superwomen.  I should invite them to come and look around my house. I am not superwomen.  Actually I don't really like the term. Whether they intend it or not, it comes across that they think I am actually better than they are.  So not true!  Definitely not true!  I live my life and they live theirs and we each deal with whatever our lives consist of. 1...2....3 or even 13 children.  We are all coping, dealing with and living our lives to the best of our ability on any given day! When we label someone with a Superwoman status or put them on a pedestal we are actually being unfair on them by not really allowing them to be 'human' and have bad days AND at the same time we are lowering ourselves and what we are dealing with and accomplishing to the level of nothing special, nothing amazing. We are all amazing! We all ROCK!!

Yes I have six children (soon to be seven)  I love each of them dearly just like a lady with 2 children.  My bad days are just as bad as yours as are my good days. There have been days where I could of called them 'Days from you know where!'  I think back to them now and I can most laugh as I reminisce.  Like the day when I only had 3 children, my then 4, and 2 year old climbed and got a can of bright blue paint out of the shed, used a screwdriver to pry the lid open, found a pair of paint brushes and proceeded to paint the back of the garage 'bathroom bright blue'!  The garage that belonged to the landlord!  Superwomen was nowhere in sight!

Or the day when I was sitting in the doctors office with my 4 year old who was having an asthma attack, my two year old was terrorizing the room and touching everything in sight probably making sterile things unsterile with dribble and my 5 month olds bottom exploded and poo oozed out of his nappy, all up his back and down his leg and through out his car seat and was screaming because he didn't like it.  I am pretty sure the nursing staff was about to order me straitjacket! Either that or order me a whiskey. Superwomen - nonexistent!

Or the time when I was bravely stupidly grocery shopping with my 4 and 2 year old and I had a 4 month old strapped to my chest (fortunately the 6 year old was in school then) and the 4 and 2 year old were running riot as they tend to do.  They ran ahead of me and the 4 year proceeded to bite chunks out of deli cheeses.  I had a number of cheese in my shopping that day, expensive cheeses at that!  Superwomen - who is she?

Those are just three times in a whole raft of occasions where superwomen was nowhere to be found and she isn't around today either.   In fact I don't know her very well at all.  We women can be our own worst enemies and we can be good at tearing each other down too.  I remember just after I had my first baby I was just getting into the swing of motherhood (actually I still am) and I used to have a competition with the mother across the fence from me to see who could get their washing out first in the morning.  Of course she didn't know she was having a competition with me, but she always won! Grrrr.  Every morning I would feel like a terrible mother who was doing a terrible job. I am not sure anyone ever set that the benchmark for mothering, that was to see who could get their washing on the line first in the neighborhood.  It wasn't until much later that I discovered her hanging her washing out the night before!  Hmmmm CHEAT!

So if I or anyone else looks like they have it altogether. Stop and think its probably because of one of these things....
1) Been there done that!  A tantrum in the supermarket isn't that scary and terrible when you have had to deal with 67 supermarket tantrums before.

2) I am faking it til I make it! I am probably silently swearing inside my head or thinking of how I can get my kids back when we get home all the while smiling an angelic smile. I also probably have an already opened packet of TimTams biscuits that one of the kids have opened on the way around the supermarket and I have bribed them all into being good with a lollipop at the checkout.

3) I have older kids too!  Yes they maybe large in number but at least half of them can take themselves off to the toilet, know the meaning of the word 'no' (well sort of), can hold a crying baby and know where to look for the cans of crushed tomatoes if need be!

4) And I probably left my house in such a state that even CSI would have trouble making heads or tails of it.

But in saying all that....there are times where I do feel somewhat superwomen-ish!  Like when I have totally owned the huge washing pile that has been sitting there all week!  Boom - I have my cape on!  Or the time when I had succeeded in cleaning up the kitchen floor after my son vomited all over it and my waters broke on top of the vomit with my husband not home yet!  Boom - I am working that leotard!

Truth is we all have terrible times as parents, times where we can't see the wood through the trees and we think we are the only ones dealing (and reacting) to such things.  But we all have our superwomen moments where we winning at this mothering thing.  A round of applause and a big hand for all of us!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Our Crazy Normal Life

Here we are, living on a daily basis on what seems to be the cusp of financial ruin but still living on 'the outer edges of normal'. I couldn't be more scared, more fearful or more exhausted but I also couldn't be more happier and more exhilarated either.  Likening our lives to a roller coaster seems so cliché but I struggle to find a better illustration.  This ride we are on is the ride of our lives. I laugh now, Jamie and I used to pray that God would use us in incredible ways, we said that we would be people of faith and strength.  And its faith and Gods strength that we are deeply drawing on EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. OF. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

I feel I am not ready for this and that some days are just too scary, too big. But knowing that God has it all under control (and the fact that I can ring my bestie and cry to her and she listens and then tell me its all OK) I KNOW with every bone of my body God has us exactly where he wants us.  And for that I am thankful. I say I "know" this but at times "feeling" it isn't a happening thing for me.  Its in those moments that I draw on the fact that I do "know" it and I draw on the strength of those that know and understand us and where we are and will pray for us like never before.
The following is my most favorite of verses EVER.  God gave it to me just before I gave birth to Jesse, during a moment when I was tired, emotional and oh so over being pregnant.  What I did not know that God was to fulfill every single one of his promises within that verse during Jesse's somewhat tricky but victorious birth and that's a whole other story.
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
                                                                 Isaiah 41:10
I see how far we have come and what has been accomplished through us. I am excited by it and anxious for more but at the same time feeling "Whoa hold up, let me catch up and breath a bit. Some days I long for normal, for slow and predictability.  Surely that time will be here soon.  But do I really want that?  Will we recognize the miracles and the workings of God as often and to the degree we have been?  Will we be this close to God and have that hunger for him if our lives became safe?  Do I want to give that up?
I don't think I do.

No dare I say that I think I want this to be our normal, a normal that isn't normal - far from it.  I want God to use me and us, to change me and us, to change the world (OK maybe not the entire world but at least have a positive impact on it)  I want our lives, our kids lives to be different to those around, to be affected, to have seen God at work in our everyday lives. I want them to have that privilege.  I want them to have seen and felt the power God in their lives.
I want them to have experienced the trust, the faith, the love, the providence of God as they journey through their own lives just by living as our family as it answers the call of God and puts him in the center of it all.
I want them to see outside of themselves, of their worlds, to REALLY see others and what the world is for them.  I want this for us. but all the while being scared stiff of what that may mean.

I was reflecting a few days ago about a time a few years back, a time that was so incredibly painful for me it still brings tears to my eyes. To a place that had me seriously questioning whether or not God knew what he was doing allowing this to happen.  For the life of me I couldn't see ANY good come out of it.  It was a crazy crazy time of hurting and loss of friends, good friends.  A few days ago I actually thanked God for that time (doesn't make that time any less painful) but I thanked him.  Because good, most excellent things have come out of it.  It has had amazing opportunities and personal growth that has blossomed into beautiful things all because God allowed that terrible time to happen.  Do I still hurt over it? Yes.  But I can now recognize that it needed to happen and for that I am thankful.

As it says in Romans 8:28 "All thing work together for good to them who love the Lord who are called according to his purpose"

Oh this rings so true, so true!  For if is wasn't for that terrible time I KNOW we wouldn't be where we are today. I truly believe that.

So if you find yourself on some kind of crazy wild God journey, on a journey that you don't know how its going to end up and where its going. Take comfort in knowing that God knows and he only wants the very best for you - that can only ever be a good thing!  It might not look like how you think it should or work out how you would of liked but its Gods best for you!

My most favorite photo!

My beautiful family!
I am so blessed.
I am going to need an update very soon!