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!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Six Month Snapshot

Previously titled 'In my Life this Month' but I thought that I would rename it to the above as I only write one of these posts every six months.  I really don't think my life is THAT interesting to do one every month.  Today is Sunday and I am tired.  I think God had an excellent idea when he made the seventh day as a day of rest because today that is exactly what I felt like doing all afternoon.  Blessed myself I did with a L-O-N-G overdue chat with my bestie on the phone.  Lost count at how long we talked for because she had to ring me back and then I had to ring her back due to a wee man with a split lip and a banana that wouldn't properly peel for him.  You know tragic things like that!

So lets begin....

In our home school.....

Well its been the school holidays here for the past two weeks something that we observe.  There is no way that the kids would let me work them through the holidays for ANY reason.  Plus I need a break too....a break from the planning, the checking up on, the correcting, the hunting DAILY for pencils, pens, scissors and rubbers that mysteriously disappear EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!  I think there is a conspiracy going on here.

What we are planning to do for the upcoming term is follow a book called "How to Make a Apple Pie Around the World".  Obviously the lesson plans will be a little different for the older kids and the younger kids but they will both follow the book.  The story follows a young girl around the world as she collects different ingredients for her apple pie.  Each week we will look at the country that she visits and the ingredient that she collects, where it grows, how it is harvested, what its used for etc.  At the end of the book of course we will make an apple pie just like the girl in the book.  Also for the older kids I am planning to put together a MasterBaker programme. Where they can learn different aspects of baking (so they don't stick to baking the same thing as they tend to do). Biscuits, Slices, Pikelets, Cakes, Breads etc.  Once they have completed all those without supervision and are edible I'll award them with the MasterBaker Graduate Award.  So that is the plan for this term.  I say plan and use that term loosely as I know that at times my kids needs change. But that is the beautiful thing about homeschooling I guess.

I am inspired by..... this book as you know.

The beauty and generosity of people.
Just some of things been donated to Loving Arms
The beauty of colour.

Such vivid colours!

Places we are going....
Well even though it hasn't been the best holidays for us around here due to a number of things, ie Terrible winter colds and terrible winter weather, we haven't ventured to far from home. Even I have to admit that its been a little boring around here.  BUT we did manage to get to visit the zoo a few days ago.  It was cold to say the least but it was so nice to be out of the house and doing something together as a family. My favourite is and always will be the giraffes. I find them so fascinating.

People we are seeing....see above for reasons but not too many people.  I did however get to meet up with a very inspiring lady from the community who has big dreams and an even bigger heart for the people she wishes to help.

My favourite thing....
Not winter that's for sure! Hmmmm do I have a favourite thing?  My electric blanket at night, My husband been home for the past week on holiday, that's been cool.

What is working for us....
Turning down our hot water cylinder!  Knocked nearly $200 of our power bill!!  I know!!  I miss having an abundance supply of hot hot water but $200 when you don't have a lot is something I can live with.
Dividing up the areas of the house when it comes to tidying up.  Works reasonably well especially when I rotate who does what areas.  The worst area according to the children is the kitchen, the best area is the hallway and front and backdoor area!

What isn't working for us...
The kids playing soccer in the hallway. Results in a smashed window!  Not happy.
Winter colds and coughs - doesn't make for good sleeping.  Poor Jesse has had a bad head cold and all night I hear Mama Mama.  He sleeps holding my hand.

Questions/thoughts I have...
-How are we going to pay for the window? We can't go through winter with it boarded up.
-How much is too much?  We live in a society of inequality and excess.  Even though its a fact of life its not right and how do you fix it?
-Where is God taking us?  Even though I love the journey that we are on, it isn't easy at times and sometimes its a little unnerving not knowing where we are actually going?

Things that I am....
-Reading...Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch
-1 Samuel
-Last Read...The Centurion  by Janette Oak and Davis Bunn
-Read...The Externally Focus Quest by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson can't wait to read that one even though its been ordered and hasn't actually arrived yet.
-Watching...Not a lot really.  I have been quite busy with various projects on the go I don't have time to watch much on TV.  I can't even remember the last movie I sat and watched and enjoyed.

I am cooking...Spaghetti and meatballs, Pizza, and I am getting really good at doing roasts too even if I say so myself.

I am grateful for...
-My husband.  He really is super. Loved having him home this week and having no outside extracurricular activities to get to.
-Our upcoming weekend away in Taupo with my sister and her family and my Mum.  So can't wait for that.  Here is hoping we can get to the snow.
-The blessing of meat.  We were blessed with a large amount of meat a week or so ago.  Meat is expensive here and I only buy it if I have too. Up until now we have been living on venison (which isn't a bad thing) but it makes a nice change having beef.
-God's continual guidance and provision. This is a common theme in my posts I know but I really am very grateful.   Two and half years since our journey began and we are still here and our daily walk though hard at times is such a blessing.
-A supportive family, friends and church. Our journey would be that much harder without them.
-This new little life that grows inside of me.   I am just about to head into my last trimester and this little ones kicks and flutters will turn into cuddles and kisses.  I am embracing this precious time because he or she is born I will have to share.

I am praying for...
-Gods continual guidance and providence.
-Growth and direction of Loving Arms. For the community to be moved by the need and mobilized into action.
-The health of the family
-The birth of this wee baby.  Not even going to pretend that my last birth wasn't hard and challenging.

Day in the Life Photos...

A rest stop at the zoo!

Maybe its because the kids are home schooled but they seem to a bit slow on the uptake of 'school yard fads'. Is that a bad thing?  But once they were introduced into the house these loom bands threatened to overtake our house. Provided a lot of hours of entertainment though.

Me at 24 weeks pregnant!

How Kaitlyn and I spent one wet afternoon.
Winter Art!

I have been getting my knit on lately.  
This pattern is so easy and if I can do it anyone can!

Found this recipe for homemade crumpets...who knew!
They were the best, a little time consuming but oh so good!!!

What are you doing this July?