Sunday, February 28, 2010

Karawatha Forest



This weekend for our nature appreciation we went hiking in the Karawatha Forest. We set out from the chapel and headed into the forest.




While we were all heading in one direction Harmony was heading in another. She did not want to go hiking and cried throughout 3/4 of the trip.

The type of forest we went hiking in. 
Very different from our rain forest experience.
I had to include this photo even though Harmony is going to be upset with me.
It shows her determination not to be included in this family activity.



A happier version of the above picture!


We saw lots of patterned trees and lots of burnt trees.







The kids loved climbing on the rocks!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chelsea's Picasso Head

For Art at school Chelsea studied Picasso.
Each student had to create their own Picasso head.
I love Chelsea's finished piece.
It is bright, colourful and wonderful.
One day I will get it framed.
Great job Chels!

Can Matt fix it.....Yes He Can!

I am so proud of my wonderful husband.
He has taught himself many talents.
If there is a job to be done around the house, he is there giving it a go.


Lately he has been tackling electrical work.
He installed two new lights on our veranda and completed all the connection work himself. Matt is so clever!


Not only does he have to do the work but he also has to work under difficult conditions. Below he is helping Sam use his 'birthday tools' and allowing him to participate in the project. Sam was so excited and happy to work with Dad.


Great job sweetheart, the lights work, Sam felt special and everyone was happy.
And yes, Matt normally does all his work in a shirt and tie!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Newest family members

Our newest family members are 2 more chickens.
We now are the caretakers of 4 chickens and the kids love it!







Chelsea is holding 'Rainbow' and Liahona is holding 'Buck Buck'.
After a few fights they have settled really well.
We look forward to getting eggs from them.


Liahona in this picture is running away because Rainbow pecked her earring.


One big happy chicken family.
Smothered with love at the Ellis house.

Motivated flute player

Chelsea has been so motivated lately.
I am so impressed with her.
I found her outside practising her flute all by herself!
I did not have to remind her and she sounded wonderful.
Go Chels!


We do things a little differently in our house.
The flute is a great example.
Chelses has a purple flute with gold buttons.
It stands out and she loves it!

Curls.

Harmony has decided she wants curly hair.
The only way she can have it is with plaits.
So I have been spending time at night putting plaits in her hair.



The end result.
Beautiful.


Gotta love that smile!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Birthday boys

Happy Birthday Eli and Sam - 4 years old!!!

Can't believe it...they have grown up so much and are becoming little men.

I love birthdays. It gives me a chance to reflect on the lives of the kids and remember when they were born. How different and special each birth was and how difficult!

Eli and Sam sure were a challenge and Matt and I were so exhausted the first year. Keeping a routine going with twin boys and 4 other children to look after sure tested us and we learnt to rely on each other more and just how much you can function on no sleep when you have to.

This year was great for Eli and Sam as they understood the whole 'birthday' thing and were really looking forward to presents, cakes and the family get together on the bed in the morning.



Here I am looking exhausted when Eli and Sam were a couple of months old.

I love these outfits with ties, one of my favourite to dress them in...too cute!



I love having a look back at these boys, they were just so darn cute!!

The poor things grew up getting so many kisses on those chubby cheeks.

I miss squeezing the two of them in my arms and kissing them all over.



Ahhhh! how times have changed.

Sam loves wearing a tie on Sunday to be like Dad and I am lucky if I get a hug or kiss in...might get in the way of DS playing, which Sam and Eli try to sneak in on a Sunday.

Still looking cute though.


On our bed for the present opening. I keep saying we need a bigger bed to fit everyone on. This picture was taken at 5am in the morning. Normally the time present opening happens.



Eli getting some Star Wars Lego and Sam getting a tool set to be like Dad.

Sam was very excited to open this present but very upset that the tools don't work like Dad's. C'mon, we have enough destruction around this house!

Well boys, we love you and had a great time celebrating your birthday.

We took cupcakes into their school and all the kids were so thrilled to have 'cake' with blue icing and dinosaur sprinkles. Sam and Eli were the first birthday for the year at the school so that was special for them. 

Four things I love about Eli:
1. He is caring, he helps Liberty go places, holds her hand and really takes care of her.
2. He is patient, he can sit down and keep himself busy doing puzzles and activities and loves working with his hands.
3. He lets me hug him and knows when I need to have one. He speaks gently and kindly but can also take a stand when he wants something and knows how to stick up for himself.
4. He is persistent with what he wants, he does not give up and will drive you crazy until he gets it.

Four things I love about Sam:
1. He understands how things work - he gets the whole routine thing and wants to follow the system we have around our house and puts himself to bed around the same time every night.
2. His face lights up when he smiles, he has bright big eyes that express his feelings so clearly and when he is happy, he shines.
3. I love that he is so active, he keeps me on my toes and motivates me to get out more and to explore the world.
4. He has a real sweetness about him, he can be really kind if someone is not well and will help them out.

We love you boys and look forward to loving you more.

shoe storage!

After having a big shoe clean out again!! I looked at all my shoes and thought I really need to come up with a new system. I get so frustrated trying to find my shoes in small boxes and end up having to sit down on the floor to sort through them all to find the matching pairs.

Whilst sorting them out I realised that I have many pairs of flat shoes. I haven't been into high heels too much lately, mainly because of Sam and Eli, as I can't chase them with heals on. I always wear flats so I can be ready to run at any time.

Now that the boys are getting older and better behaved I can break out the heels more. Anyway, I found this storage box that I used for all of our paperwork and was very excited to find out that I could fit my flats in the storage holes. Very happy with the result and I can now find my shoes quickly and easily.


Of course after taking this picture I have noticed that there are several pairs of shoes that need a good clean. The worst one's being the silver pair on the bottom left corner - they are one of my favourites and have sentimental value to me.

This special pair of silver, sparkly shoes make me smile every time I see them and wear them. They were a gift for me from Matt. 

One year Matt and I were going out to a ball. I had a lovely dress I wanted to wear, I felt happy with it but could not find any of the shoes I owned that matched. I tried all of them and none of them looked right. I asked Matt several times about my shoes and he agreed, they did not look right.

Finances were tight at this time (they seem to be all the time in our house!) and I knew purchasing a pair of shoes for one night out was not going to fit into our budget. On the night of the ball I got ready, dressed up in my lovely dress and put on a pair of shoes I thought looked the best from my selection.

Just before we went out Matt surprised me with a present. It was the pair of shoes. He had gone out to a ladies shoe shop, described my outfit to the lady in the shop and together they selected the best pair of shoes they thought would match. The fitted me perfectly and matched beautifully!

I was so surprised and touched that he had gone out of his way to do something so nice for me. I felt like a princess going to the ball with my new shoes on I had a smile on my face all night. What a wonderful husband, he really is the BEST!

compassion

This week I have been busy preparing my talk for church and remembering just how daunting (and exciting) it is speaking in front of a large group of women. What a blessing it is to be friends with such great women that want to be better and that have the same values that I do. They are such a great example to me, have been through so many challenging experiences and are so talented that sometimes I feel totally scared to address them. I love it though. It stretches me, really makes me think about how I feel about certain topics and gives me a buzz stressing about getting my words right.

There really is something wonderful that happens when a group of women get together. The feeling in the room is that we could take on the world, that we could achieve anything if we supported and cared for each other and it uplifts me to be a better woman, wife, mother and friend. 

This meetings topic is on Compassion. It is something I feel women are naturally good at, they reach out to others, serve others and are happy to make time to hear how others are thinking and feeling. My focus is going to be about having compassion for ourselves.

As a mother I have learnt that it is important to make time for myself, to keep myself interested in things that I want to do, to have an outlet and to make sure I am happy. So often mothers set the mood of the house. If mum isn't happy, no one is happy. Well, that is how it seems to be in our house although the odds are against me because with so many children, there is always someone who is miserable.


I have been trying to remember the things that I like to do and after being busy for so long with little one's, I really can't remember much at all. So it is time to get some new interests and to try some new things to find some new favourites. Let the searching and experimenting begin!!!


I also wanted to have a meeting about compassion because I feel there is a great need to have more of it in our homes. It is a reminder to me that I can be kinder and gentler with my kids, to use a softer voice and to try to see things from their perspective instead of mine!


We have seen some terrible tragedies in the world with natural disasters and it is wonderful to see countries and communities rally together to support those who are suffering. But, there are people also suffering right next door to us and kindness and compassion are needed.


I realise after doing some research on this topic that I have such a long way to go towards being 'compassionate' myself and am thankful I have a bunch of great kids who help me develop this gift and stretch me to be better.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day



We had a great Valentines Day in the Ellis house.


Liahona made Matt and I breakfast in bed. Thanks for thinking of us Hona, it was a lovely surprise. 

I asked for toast and I ended up with warm bread - but I didn't have to make it so I loved it! 

I have to admit I was kind of scared to see what the kitchen looked like after getting up but it was in it's normal messy state and no major disasters so I was happy with 'normal'. Next year we will have to get them to master the 'clean up' routine as well.

Below is a picture of Liberty's first valentine card. She made it herself. Thanks Sonja who helped her out. It was lovely and I can see that much care and organisation has gone into it. Well done Libby!


I can't write about Valentines Day without mentioning my Sweetheart.

I love to remember the day we were married and how lovely that was. I was so happy to be married to Matt and still remember the excitement of being able to introduce him as my husband.

We have been married 12 years now and have enjoyed our time together. We have laughed a lot, cried a lot (alright, I have cried a lot and Matt has watched and hugged me while I cried), been amazed at how many children have come into our home, made some good decisions and made lots of bad decisions but we have done it altogether. Matt always says we can do anything together and I agree....we can take on the world....one crazy day at a time!

Love you sweetheart!


January 1998. Don't think we have changed much - a few extra kilo's and a few extra kids.



The man of my dreams, who makes me so happy and every so often drives me crazy, but I love him to bits. I love his smile, I love his positive attitude and optimistic outlook on everything (this is the driving me crazy part), and I love him so much more than the day we were married.


For Valentines Day Matt surprised the girls by giving them a long stem chocolate rose. They were very happy with the gift and thought Dad was the best Dad ever!!! I think so too!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Surprise note...7 Cherubs

After a long Sunday doing some visits, I came home, wearily dragged myself into my bedroom and was surprised to find this lovely note on my bed created by Chelsea.




Translation:


Liberty - I am cute, pretty, clever and Ahsoka (character from Clone Wars/Star Wars..she has the green light saver like Liberty owns).


Liahona - I am cute, pretty, smart and Padma (character from Clone Wars/Star Wars...hmm I see a theme happening here).


Chelsea - I'm sweet, kind, helpful, artistic, nice, loving, and lovely. I like art, music, skipping, computer, DSi/DS, food and lots more. This is from me. Hope you like it. Love you a lot Chelsea.xxxxxooooooo (well, all those positive comments have paid off and it is wonderful to see that she thinks she is great! and of course she had to tell me it was from her).


Sam - I'm smart, a leader and I LOVE STAR WARS! (hmmm..too much Star Wars watching going on here).


Eli - I'm tall, kind and helpful. I LOVE U MUM.


Harmony - I'm a good friend and I like going on the computer, to the shops and going to school. I LOVE U MUM.


Nathan - I like playing electronics and I can be helpful around the house when I am in a good mood.


Well, that was lovely to receive. Thanks Chels!


For some reason Chelsea decided that I needed a reminder of why all my kids are so excellent and maybe next time she might include a few things on why I am excellent....I know..asking too much, right...but I am thankful she did something.


I love you too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

So Jealous!!!

This week has been a busy week. I have felt exhausted and just plain old worn out. I have had to push myself to get some of the basic household chores done and had to dig deep to keep things running.

During the week when I was having one of 'those moments'...you know, where you find yourself dragging your feet, walking in a daze, unable to make decisions because you are so tired and can't think properly and longing to just sleep... when I walked into my bedroom and saw Liberty.

It stopped me in my tracks.

She was fast asleep and I was so jealous.


She had fallen onto the bed in the exact position I imagined myself falling in. 

Face plant straight onto the bed. She looked so relaxed and I wanted to join her. I longed to join her.

At that moment I felt like a starving person feels towards food, the craving, the longing for that one bite of food and in my case that longing for the opportunity to close my eyes and relax.

Well, fat chance that was going to happen with Sam and Eli on the rampage! 

So, I sat on the bed, smiled at my sweet little girl, sighed and almost got teary .... almost ... and picked myself up and went on with my day.



Still feeling jealous looking at these pictures days later. Sigh.

One day I will be able to take an afternoon nap and by then I probably won't be able to sleep because I will be worry about the house full of teenagers I will have. Ahhhh!

Class President

Liahona came home from school very excited on Monday.


After spending time on the weekend and stressing out Monday morning putting together her speech, she was so excited to win the position of Class President for her Year 4 class.


She spoke about the thing she likes to do, what she would like the class to do and shared her feelings about the school values.


Way to go Hona! We are proud of you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Count your blessings

After a tiring day of visiting different wards/congregations at church and wrestling with kids in meetings it can be very easy to become discouraged.


Especially as one child found a ball of bright blue bubblegum under a pew and decided to claim it as his own, spending a serious amount of time rolling it in his hands, making it soft, supple and perfect for the right moment when he decided to plant it on his head.


The bright blue ball then became entangled in all of his hair and resulted in much crying when he tried to take the ball off again. 


Upon realising what had happened, I then had to take this child out of the chapel area, hunt down some scissors, take him into the bathrooms and cut the ball out. 


A great lesson was learned that blue balls of bubble gum do not belong in hair and he has a clear reminder in the form of a bald patch on the top of his head. 


Note to self: Remember to include scissors in church bag!


With these type of activities happening in our family on a regular basis we have learned to expect the unexpected. We try to laugh in stressful situations, to look at the positive and remember that we cannot control all the choices of our children.


Most days we feel we are stuck in the hard times and love it when we are surprised to see wonderful moments of love and caring happening in our family.


So often I miss them and don't have a camera on me but I did managed to capture one such moment.


I went in to check Liberty and Harmony and was sweetly surprised to see them sleeping together in the same bed. Harmony had come down from top bunk of her bed and helped Liberty to get to sleep.


I snuck in to take a picture because I thought it was so lovely.


Harmony of course was still sleeping with her headband on. Every night I need to take a headband or clips out. Crazy girl!



We really feel so blessed to have such wonderful children who teach us so much and encourage us to dig deep and be better parents.


Thanks kids, we know these trials you give us are to make us stronger.


We love you.



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Liberty growing up

The other week I looked at Liberty and was shocked to see how much she has grown up. So I decided we needed a photo shoot and grabbed the camera.


These are some of my favourite pictures of her. I asked her if she wanted me to take some pictures, she sweetly said 'Yes' and lined up against the wall. Love it when they agree with me and move into action immediately. Too cute!






I asked Libby a question in this picture and she put her hand up in the air to vote 'Yes'. We do a lot of voting in our house, as there are so many of us, it mostly happens around the dinner table and can get quite noisy if people get out-voted on what they wanted to have happen. 

Libby knows the process and can often be found voting for and against a motion.




We love you Libby.


You are a treasure and a great gift to me and our family.

Exhausted tooth fairy

Lately Liahona's purse has been filled.


The tooth fairy has been paying many visits to our house.


Hona has been enjoying her teeth falling out and the collection of coins that have been left to her.


Her constant question is 'when are we going shopping?'....


By the looks of the way these teeth are growing back the poor old tooth fairy is going to be forking out a few more coins to help straighten these teeth!




Next one waiting for the tooth fairy is Harmony, who at 6 still has not lost a tooth and is desperately waiting for a wobbly teeth. 


The tooth fairy is happy for the wait and the opportunity to restock the finances.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nathan's birthday

This year Nathan turned 10. Happy Birthday Matey!

We had a pool party and he picked out which cakes he wanted.

So happy I did not have to bake this year, you never know what these kids are going to ask for.


Blowing out the candles.


So disappointed that he did not have a candle left and he therefore had no girls to kiss, because we all know in the Ellis house that Nathan loves to give kisses.....NOT!!

Anyway, after he get's upset at me for writing that let me tell you 10 things I love about Nathan.

1. He loves to read 
2. He get's fired up about sports games (so fun to watch)
3. He is a good example to his brothers and sisters
4. He plays with the boys even when they are driving him crazy
5. He can swim as fast, if not faster than me
6. He knows how to push himself to achieve his goals
7. He has a kind heart
8. He is funny
9. He already has spiritual depth
10. He is good at saving money

We love you Nathan and love it when you are happy.

You are such a great son and we love your smile.

Fire Truck Visit

At Playgroup we had an exciting visit from the local fire station and the kids were so excited that they turned up in a truck!!


Here the kids are checking out the flashing lights and later were scared by the fire siren.




Sam in the truck wearing the helmet. Loving it!



Eli in the truck not quite knowing what to do with himself. But happy.


Liberty looking really little in such a big truck.


Learning what comes out of the hose before giving it a serious go.

This fireman reminded me of Sportacus from Lazy Town.

Same accent and muscles.





All the kids loved spraying the hose and had a great time.

Thanks Paula for organising a great activity.