This week I received a lovely surprise from Mama Butterfly.
A sunshine award.
I was touched, delighted and tickled pink (as my husband would say).
Mama Butterfly has a wonderful blog. Here is a little about her:
A Farmers Wifey to Mr H, the best hubby in the world, and a Sunny Mummy to Macie who is 5 months old. I consider myself a very lucky lady to be blessed with so much love and friendship. I live on a grain farm in South-West Queensland in a beautiful and cosy cottage with my ever so gorgeous family. Macie and I are both hearing impaired with Macie only just being fitted with her hearing aids at 3 months old....it has been a rough journey but I now look forward to paving a beautiful path for Macie for her future....just like my Mama did for me.
Now that I have this award there are some conditions that I must abide by to accept the Sunshine Award. I need to share seven random facts about myself and then pass on the award to other inspiring bloggers.
So here goes.....7 Random Facts about me:
1. I did not get my drivers licence until I was 20.
2. I have a degree in English and History.
3. I served a full-time mission for my church in New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
4. Matt and I only dated for 4 weeks before we got engaged.
5. I am totally scared of big spiders.
6. I love and am slightly addicted to op-shopping.
7. I originally wanted 10 kids but am really happy I stopped at 7.
And now to pass on the love....here are 7 blogs that I love....
On the weekend we took the kids off to dreamworld to have some fun.
The little ones are a bit older and taller now and I was interested to see how they would go on some of the faster rides. It has been a long time since we have visited dreamworld and our whole family was ready for some serious screaming and fun.
Can I just say that I have the coolest kids ever.
All of my children love fast rides...I was so surprised and delighted at the same time.
They must get it from me because I loooove rides!
I was expecting some tears, some fears and some trauma in our visit.
Instead I got laughter, screaming, yelling, jumping and extreme excitement.
This was one of my favourite rides where we managed to fit all nine of us in.
I took this picture in the dark of Nathan and Liahona - they were freaking out with the loud thunder noises, well mainly Liahona.
One of the highlights for me was going on the Tower of Terror with Chelsea and Liahona.
It is a big ride for a couple of young girls. I was so proud of them.
We had so much fun screaming out heads off way up high and faced our fears together.
A family that faces their fears together stays together????
Our home is in a state of chaos.
I have decided I want order around here and I want it now!
Unfortunately, to have order I need to have chaos first.
Ever since I went away last weekend I have been in full swing changing rooms around.
Trying to make them function better, to simplify them and to remove clutter.
My body is aching, my head hurts, I am exhausted...but I am loving it!
How did this start???
I woke up one morning and said to myself 'enough is enough' and I just decided.
I love having a house of order and have decided to throw myself into making it happen.
For some weird reason I just have the right mindset for it right now.
So I am going with it and I am happy with the results.
I have used most the things that I already own and have been creative with the different ideas I am doing with them. This way it is not a large expense changing the house around.
So far I have totally changed our bedroom around. I added a chest of drawers for storage, created 2 bookshelves for shoes, added a desk that I just happen to find on the side of the road and matched the decor of my room, added a large mirror, cleaned out paperwork and now have our bed facing in a different direction.
I also cleaned out our food storage cupboard and moved it into the dining area for easier access whilst cooking, moved the children's toys and homework information into the rumpus room from the dining room, removed the curtains and mirror in the dining room ready for painting the wall and cleaned out my buffet ready for storing more items.
I pained a chest of drawers for one of the girls room, got Matt to install a shelf for storage and painted a dolls house to store more items in that match the bedroom walls.
I also got Matt to install two shelves in the other girls room so they could decorate it with their favourite items. I cleaned out their cupboard (once again) and added toy boxes to store their shoes etc. in on the bottom of the wardrobe. We had a big clean out of clothes and toys that had piled up under their beds and it is neat and lovely.
I have 3 shelves waiting to go into the boys room (poor Matt is working overtime helping me out - thanks sweetheart) to help with storage to make life a little easier for them so I can have more storage space in their cupboards.
I have moved my old bedhead (which is kind of like a bookshelf) into the lounge room to create added shelving behind my desk so I can have more space when working on the computer.
I cleaned out the laundry so that I now have more storage space under one of my cupboards to fit 2 washing baskets side by side. Making a lot more room to store the piles of washing.
It has been wonderful to have a clean out.
Exhausting but wonderful.
I am not finished yet and I hope this mindset continues until we have a house of order so that we can have more time, for having fun!
I don't expect my kids to be happy every moment of the day but I love it when they generally try their best to have a good attitude and see the positive in life. They all do a good job and just need a reminder every so often. I sure need a reminder that it is available every day of the week - I am a realist and often find myself saying - 'well, the reality of this situation is .....' and I am prepared to deal with the circumstances accordingly.
I need a reminder to be happy whilst I am dealing with it...a challenge to be sure!
But, I like a good challenge.
Maybe that is why I have so many children????
It sure is a challenge.
Last weekend I took a trip home to celebrate my Dad turning sixty.
Quite an achievement!
My Dad turning sixty that is...not me taking a trip home!
Although I do have to say it was also quite an achievement for my wonderful husband to take care of all the kids whilst I was gone for the whole weekend - thanks sweetheart.
My Dad and Debbie.
For his birthday one sensational family couple organised all the children to write a birthday message to put together in a book as his birthday present.
The book turned out wonderful and Dad was brought to tears as he read it.
Having a good read.
The handsome fella on the front cover - taken many years ago!
At my Dad's birthday party I had the opportunity to say a few words.
I wasn't going to speak as my brother spoke, being a good speaker, being the only son and oldest from my Dad's second marriage but I was asked to and I said Yes!
I think I was asked because I am the oldest out of all the children.
Not the wisest but the oldest...ha ha!
Anyway, I had the chance to say thanks to my Dad for the support he has given us over the years, for wanting to be involved in our lives and for the good example he has been to us.
It has not always been a great relationship but family is important to him and that meant I was important too.
I have never taken the time to say thanks before and felt it was about time!
I guess I am thankful because when my parents got divorced when I was young, my sister and I were blessed.
Both our parents wanted us.
They went to court and both tried to gain custody of us.
At the time we lived with our Dad.
The court decided we should go live with our Mum.
I still remember clearly the day my Dad told me we had to go live with my Mum.
I was sitting in the back of the car, I cried and was very upset.
My Dad could have given up on us, he easily could have stayed out of our lives but he didn't and I am thankful. Things have not always been smooth sailing but, I know he has always been there if I needed him. I did not grow up in his home but I had the chance to see him raise his three children from a distance and get to see what kind of Dad he would have been if we continued living with him.
From what my sister and I have seen, we love the way he has raised his children.
They are motivated, intelligent and caring individuals.
They respect their parents and others.
They are all involved in work that focuses on helping and serving others.
They are confident and loving.
They have been taught by loving parents and it has been great to see them grow older.
I think he is looking pretty good for sixty and I hope that when I get to his age that I am still moving and grooving as much as he is.
Happy Birthday Dad!
P.S - Congratulations goes to you too Debbie for helping him get this far!
I had the wonderful experience of taking a trip home last weekend.
It was for my Dad's sixtieth birthday (more on that later).
I had great plans of everything I wanted to see and soak in.
To let the memories return and linger and enjoy them.
These plans did not happen though as I was only there for around 24 hours - too short.
One of the great views I did get to see was the Blue Lake (in Mount Gambier, my first home).
Thanks to my sister, who I politely forced to drive me around it!
It was an overcast day so the sun was not shinning and glistening off the lake how I love it to look.
Still, I loved it...
One day recently I went food shopping with Chelsea.
As we were walking down the isle I saw tubes of condensed milk. Yum!
It totally took me back to my childhood when I remember drinking it right from the tube.
I grabbed a tube off the shelf to share my experience with Chelsea.
Not once thinking about what I was doing!
Before I knew it there were 4 tubes shoved in the trolley.
Big mistake on my part!
Of course she wanted to try it herself and needed to have her own tube.
Well, after some negotiating we decided that this was going to be a once off experience.
The things I get myself into sometimes!!!!
So one night we put the little kids to bed and the big four got to stay up to watch a movie and have their tubes of condensed milk to suck on. I thought there was no way they would finish it all but of course they proved me wrong. Thankfully no-one got sick that night...
Every so often I treat myself to a Women's magazine. Just to see what is going on in the fashion world and what women are thinking on certain topics. This month I decided to get the Australian Women's Weekly.
I have to say - man, have the prices of magazines gone up or what??? almost like buying a book! I guess in a way you are but they have so much advertising in them it drives me crazy...enough of the ranting....
One of the articles I really liked was on Australian actress Rebecca Gibney - who I must say is looking fabulous! In this article she shares her six secret rules for a happy life.
I really love them and they are the culmination of her hard-won life experiences.
1. Kindness costs nothing - She is a strict adherent to the 'random acts of kindness' school of thought. Her Mum always taught her that compassion and kindness were the most important things in life.
2. Respect your elders - Her family are taking a trip to Europe to celebrate her Mum's 75th birthday and it is as much a gesture to thank her for the remarkable job she did in raising her and her five siblings.
3. Embrace your past - You can't go back, you can't fix it...it's taken me to where I am now and that is one of the great things about getting older. You get to a place where you go 'I'm OK with myself now. It does not really matter what anyone thinks, and it is so liberating'.
4. Live for the moment - Rebecca finds herself thinking that she might only have...next year and she doesn't want to waste that time being miserable and horrible and negative. If you go out there thinking I am going to have a great life and life is really good and people are really kind, then it comes back to you.
5. Count your blessings - Lower your expectations and raise your appreciation. Be grateful for what you have and you get more out of life.
6. Nothing is more important than family - At the end of the day family are the only people in the world contractually obliged to celebrate your highs and support you through your lows. I wouldn't be where I am today without my family.
I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and her ideas on happiness. They are simple yet powerful.
They are a great reminder that to be happy you don't need clothes or money or the latest gadgets. Happiness comes with attitude, serving others and your family.
I love this quote. It reminds me to slow down and to let things go. To relax and to enjoy life. To let life happen and be content with things that come my way. To let the happiness naturally find me and to not force it into my life. To be still and to notice the joy that could already be sitting on my shoulder that I haven't stopped to appreciate yet.
I pointed the twins out because they were identical and totally looked the same.
They looked around and had no idea what I was talking about.
It then hit me that they really don't know what the meaning of 'twins' is.
Growing up as twins in a family with a lot of other kids has made life different for these boys.
I have always treated them as individuals, rarely dressed them the same and have not spent much time focusing on the fact that they are twins.
I did not feel the need to.
They have a lovely relationship together, that is naturally special and I did not feel it was necessary to continually point out that they were different compared to the other children.
The boys know that they are around the same size, the same age, look similar and have the same teachers at kindy. They also know that people get them mixed up and are happy to point out who is who.
But, they also have decided they want their own clothes, shoes and other items they own. If I try to dress Sam in a top he thinks is Eli's, he refuses to wear it. They respect each others items.
As they get older, begin school I know they will have more opportunities for talking about being twins. For now I want them to just enjoy life, to learn about what they are interested and not feel pressured to have the same ideas and thinking on everything.
To me they are two different boys born at the same time and I have always treated them that way. I have always disliked the idea of twins being classed as 'one' when they are two separate people.
My boys have very different personalities.
I love that they feel they can be themselves and make their own choices about what they love.
With lots of brothers and sisters, they get to have plenty of time away from each other doing activities they are separately interested in. This has been a great blessing in our family.
I look forward to seeing what they want to do apart and what they want to do together in the future.
I have been reading 'A Heart Like His' by Virginia H. Pearce.
It is a religious book and encourages readers to open their hearts to others.
I have been thinking about my heart and what sort of friend I am. I don't think I am a very good friend to others. I am always so rushed that I don't stop to listen and I am always so tired I never know what to say. I am a bit of a time freak and have a bad habit of not attending to others because I am so busy and I always think that others are too busy to stop and chat too.
I have been trying to be more aware of my heart, to be more open towards others and to remember that taking the time to listen or help others really isn't going to put me behind in my schedule by that much at the end of the day.
Sometimes around people I keep my heart protected with at 10 foot fence, a padlock and a dead bolt on the door. Around others I have a lovely garden path with an open door for them to enter. I have found that sometimes it is necessary to protect yourself and it is using wisdom to do so. The down side to this is that having a hardened heart also prevents me from feeling love. If you block out one you also block out the other.
The challenge I find is keeping my heart open and being aware of opportunities to share it. I don't think you need to make an extra effort, opportunities are everywhere, and generally people are very kind and open.
Some of the quotes I really enjoyed from the book were:
Open heart creates energy
Closed heart depletes energy
An open heart looks outward
A closed heart looks inward.
It is wonderful to really care about others and to open your heart to them.
I have found that when I do so something magical happens and other people open their closed hearts and both of us feel so much better for doing so.
We have had great excitement happening over our back fence.
Noisy....annoying at times... but exciting.
This is where the boys have spent most of the holidays:
Balancing on the fence, taking in as much as they can and enjoying the view.
As you can see they are very happy with this little adventure!
They are loving how close the action is and I can see they are taking in every movement.
So what is happening over the fence? They are digging large tunnels.
Here is a better view. It is going to take months and my boys are as happy as can be about it.
Me...well...I am ready for it to finish but I am so loving seeing the boys talking about it, pointing to things, waving to the workmen, talking to the workmen and raving about all the action.