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 ...so 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?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Book That is Ruining My Life!

Ruining it in a good way...... I think??  I hope??  But one thing I do know that it is turning my world, my life as I know it upside down.  Are books suppose to do that?   I am a reader and given the opportunity I would polish off an entire book in a matter of hours or at least a day.  I couldn't possibly tell you how many books I would of read over my lifetime but I would say that it numbers in the thousands.  But this book.....this book well I have no words.  Like I said before I usually polish off a book in hours but this one I am savoring each chapter, one a day allowing myself time to reflect, to meditate and to sort out my thoughts in regards to what I have just read.   I am enjoying taking the time to do that but still its also driving me nuts not reading on to see what tasty morsels the next chapter has for me.

I can probably count on one hand the books that have any sort of profound effect on me. Actually I can think of three (two of which are series of books but I still count them as one book).

The Externally Focused Church  by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson
 - Challenged me to look at the community in which we live that is outside the church doors

The Yada Prayer Group Series by Neta Jackson (a novel - and not as cheesy as the title may suggested)
- Challenged me to look at the power of prayer and the journey that others outside your own circle of friends    are on.

Red River of the North Series by Lauraine Snelling (a novel)
- Challenged me on the power of generosity, community and to dive deep into Gods Word every single          day.

While two of the above are novel series, their message for me was still super powerful and they have left their mark on my life.

But this book...well its a whole new level.  I don't believe for a second that it isn't by accident that I am reading it now. I needed to hear the writers story and her story that precedes her story.  A few weeks back I shared that I launched what was a dream, a vision into reality, into being.    While I share much of the authors heart and passion, it still totally wrecks me as I read her thoughts as though they are my thoughts.  I sit as I read with tears and snot pouring down my face.  Yes it is that glamorous!  Not only do I sob but I break into laughter through tears whilst my children look on in awe, worry, disbelief, embarrassment and wonder at their crazy mother for whom this kind of reaction to anything is not uncommon.  Someone needs to tell them that I am normal??

By now maybe you are screaming at me saying "WHAT THE HECK IS THE BOOK CALLED?"  The book that is ruining my life and causing me to question everything, to seek out a deeper relationship with Jesus, that is encouraging me that even a normal everyday stay-at-home Mama can do BIG things in the name of Jesus when you say YES to Jesus and his will for your life.



Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch 
 is that book.

As I told you it is no accident that I am reading this book now but rather its God ordained timing.  The time when I have put my heart out for all to see and saying "Here is a need, the need is real, the need is raw, the need is desperate! Lets do this"

While our journeys are the a little of the same they are also different. I can't pretend that the need here is even remotely the same as where her story takes place. But here in New Zealand, the urgency for young mums and mums in need to receive help, love, support and guidance is so very real. This is my YES to Jesus!

A few years back Jamie and I prayed that we would be a family of faith and as I said before 'be careful of what you pray for' as God will take every opportunity to take you at your word.  We are living that life, our crazy life that could almost be a book in itself.  While this is scary and unknown it is also exciting and privileged.  We can only benefit from his journey as he only wants the very best for us.  That stirs something deep inside of my heart, it thrills and energizes me all the while disturbing my nice little life as I know it. As if it hasn't been disturbed enough already.

                             What journey are you on?


Check out Kristen's Blog We are THAT family here.


NB//  Just in case something has been stirring in you and you want your heart to be stirred into saying YES to whatever Jesus has in store for you,  Rhinestone Jesus is available from most online booksellers, Amazon, Fishpond or The Book Depository. (Although the cheapest option for New Zealand readers is The Book Depository which is UK based but have free delivery worldwide. Price $13.07)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Traditions

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog will know that I am very big on traditions, very big.  We have traditions in our family surrounding everything.  From pregnancy and birth through to birthdays, Christmas and holidays and everything else in between.

We have the same newborn gown that each of my children have been dressed in for the very first time after they were born to giving the kids a present on Christmas Eve, which has always a pair of new brand new PJs until this year when the older boys got new pairs of undies because that's what they wear to bed during the summer.

It is the beginning of the school holidays and we even have traditions that mark the end of the school term.  Before you ask - yes we still do school holidays around here even though the kids are home schooled.  Do you really think that they would let me work through them?  Plus I definitely need a break from all that planning and hunting for pencils and rubbers on a daily basis.   (One would think that I would have an ample supply of those two items being that we school at home but I am ALWAYS hunting for them no matter how many I have in the house).

The end of the school term tradition is always marked with a last day ice cream sundae from McDonald's.  I can't remember when it started but no one lets me forget it and this time the kids went out with Dad who treated them to Sundaes after a trip into the city.  Bless him. I got to stay home ALL BY MYSELF for an entire three hours, something that NEVER happens around here. Oh the quiet!  It was so .......quiet!  What to do what to do??  I finished off some knitting, talked to my Mum on the phone, had a coffee in one sitting (with cream even) ate a caramel square without having to share any, had a wee nap, surfed the net and did some baking UNINTERRUPTED and started dinner.  While I did enjoy this time, by the time they got home I was ready for them to be home.

Another tradition that we do at any given time when a new movie is out is too all sit down and watch a family movie together complete with movie snacks.  The lights are all turned off and everyone finds their favourite seat and we enjoy the movie together.  I have to admit I am not the biggest movie fan so sitting down for the entire length of the movie is particularly difficult for me. I always have the desire to be doing something else as well as watch a movie.  This drives my husband nuts!



Whatever the tradition you celebrate or observe in your family, be encouraged that its all worth it even if it is a bit of an effort to make it happen, even if the kiddies aren't playing their part and are fighting over who gets the ice cream sundae with the most sauce or who is sitting in whose seat for the movie.  I tell myself that this is all part of the tradition itself. If you are striving for perfection then you are going to sadly disappointed because when you are working with anyone else let only children...stuff happens.  But it is all worth it.  I have said before, its all about creating memories and building relationships, cementing relationships within your family.  Its what makes you a family.  Its what holds you to each other.  So keep going, keep making that effort, keep celebrating and observing the traditions that you hold in your family.  Its what makes your family, your family.

What traditions do you have in your family?