Sunday, October 31, 2010

country cruising

This morning I left early to go visit a small branch of our church. For my assignment at church, I am blessed to do a little traveling around to congregations, to visit the women and to uplift them.

It was a lovely, peaceful drive all by myself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the wide open space, the scattering of animals, the delightful houses along the way and the green pastures from the recent down-pouring of rain we have had.




I so love the country. I would love to live out there again.
The find joy in the space, the air and the stillness.

It was a lovely time-out for me. 
To gather my thoughts.
To cruise the roads, gospel tunes playing and enjoying the scenery.

What about you - do you delight in the country side?
Or are you more of a city chick?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

This Saturday I am grateful for ... happiness


Today I am feeling exhausted. This Blogtoberfest is killing me and I only have to make it a few more days to the end...I have had so much fun though, writing about all sorts of stuff...but next year I need to come up with a more organised plan! It is taking away a lot of my 'happy family time' and I miss that.

So today I wanted to share another happy list with you.
Here are 10 things currently making me feel extremely happy:

1. sticky date muffins - yummo!
2. watching my kids perform and sing
3. fresh eggs from my chickens
4. finding bargain outfits at secondhand shops
5. hot baths with lots of bubbles
6. when my husband winks at me
7. reading Notebook magazine
8. laying on a picnic blanket staring at the sky
9. finding an old favourite song on itunes
10. dancing in my loungeroom

Hope you find some happiness this weekend.
To see what others are grateful for * read them at Maxabella loves
found the {image} here 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Giveaway Result!

Well, the time is up for my first giveaway.

Thank YOU to all those who entered and shared 'mother secrets'.
They were so lovely to read.
 
I am super excited to announce that the winner of 
"A Mother's Book of Secrets"
 is...


congratulations!

I hope you enjoy reading and sharing the secrets Shawni has developed over her years as a mother and that it helps you in some small way in your mothering.

National Children's Week

October 23rd - 31st is Children's Week. 
Delightful idea don't you think?

It is an annual event celebrated in Australia during the fourth week in October.
In 1996 they decided to adopt a permanent theme: "A Caring World Shares".
You can visit the website here.

A diverse range of events and activities are organised at National, State and Local levels. These events focus the attention of the wider community on children, their needs and achievements.

Children's Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood.
It is also a time for children to demonstrate their talents, skills and abilities.

Thousands of children and their families around the country are involved in activities and events during "The Week" through the participation of schools, playgroups, childcare, kindergartens, cultural groups, libraries, departments and community groups.

If you are living in Victoria {check full range of activities here} and want to celebrate, the State Library is hosting a series of sessions at local libraries to help promote literacy. Each of the children who attend the events are receiving a book from Jeannette Rowe's SmartyCat series. Woo hoo! if I lived in Victoria I would so be there!


{Jeannette is Australia’s best selling preschool author/illustrators. With over one million sales worldwide, her books have sold to over 14 countries and are in 7 different languages. Jeannette is well known for her vibrantly coloured Whose?, YoYo and My series. Her warm and friendly characters are known and loved by children everywhere.

SmartyCat is the latest addition to an already successful list of books for pre-schoolers introducing the curious kitten who loves to ask ‘how?, ‘what?’, ‘where?’ and ‘why?’. Her strong background in education and her years of experience as an author/illustrator have finally combined to create this wonderful new series of books for inquisitive young children.}



The Victorian Government also has a Young Readers Program. This program encourages Victorian families and caregivers to read to their children. Now in its second year, the Young Readers Program has distributed free ‘It’s Rhyme Time’ booklets and DVDs to parents of 237,649 babies and toddlers!

The Program aims to touch the lives of 500,000 children by 2011, and to assist in fostering a love of books for life, linking the relationship between literacy and the health and well-being of future generations. Awesome effort and program!

Some points The Young Readers Program aims to achieve are:
  • promote the importance of reading to young children
  • promote family involvement in young children's literacy development through reading together
  • increase access to books for families and caregivers with young children
  • support Australian children's literature
The program provides a 'rhyme time' booklet and DVD to every four-month-old child when they visit their local public library or maternal and child health centre. Every child is also given an Australian picture book at their two-year-old maternal and child health visit. Information about early literacy and supporting adult literacy is also made available.


What an awesome program! As you know we sure love kids in our house. We love the idea of children being able to enjoy their childhood, to be free to have fun and I especially love to help promote literacy with children.

I love that we have a week to be reminded to appreciate our cherubs and to look at how we are going as a community in supporting them. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mother Heart Linky Day!

If you are new to visiting my blog, let me explain what 'Mother Heart' is.

One of my passions is mothering. I love talking and writing about it.
It is my full-time work and consumes most of my time and thoughts.

I believe it is a great work to raise children and for me being a stay at home mum has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has taught me many skills and also taught me about who I am as a person and a woman.

I also believe in the power of mothers. I feel it is important to strengthen mothers as women.

One of the ways that I am really strengthened as a mother and a woman is by learning, hearing, reading and talking to other mothers about how they raise their children. About the struggles they have and the challenges they face. I love learning from other mothers how they feel about mothering and what little things they do in their homes to be better mothers for themselves and their children.

I love mummy bloggers. When they write, it is often straight from the heart. They pour out their feelings, they share burdens, desires, worries and some of their deepest sorrows and joys. It is uplifting to know we share the same concerns, emotions and passions.

We need to share them to uplift each other and to know we are not alone. For my 'Mother Heart' Linky I am looking for posts (old posts or new posts) that relate to mothering and motherhood. Experiences, tips, adventures, feelings and challenges that will help us feel connected and supported in our heart as we mother our cherubs.

You are welcome to grab my button, to spread the word and the love.
Please take the time to read what others have written and leave some bloggy love with a comment.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Tied together

Cherubs + Ties = Super cute!


A little gift to make you smile today.
Go on....I know you want to.

One of my all time favourite pictures of Eli and Sam.
I just want to kiss those chubby cheeks and listen to those giggles all over again!

Remember to come back tomorrow for my Linky!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

100 ideas happiness - Number 8. Think happy thoughts


Are you a naturally happy person? Do you automatically think happy thoughts?

Happiness does not come easy for me. Which I why I like to write about it. I do have days where I feel genuinely happy and content with my life but I also have days where I feel overwhelmed, depressed and disappointed with myself. I am my harshest critic and can get really tough on myself most days.

I know, I know...I need to lighten up!

On these days I try to think happy thoughts.
To be positive in my self-talk and to push away any thoughts of failure or despair.

As I go about my daily activities I spend a lot of time talking to myself {can't believe I am admitting this, but I know I am not alone!}, trying to change my thoughts. It is like I am having a battle within myself - trying to let the positive me, win. This can be really exhausting. I find some days I worn out just from helping myself, let alone everyone else in my house!

I have found that not everyone believes in positive thinking. Some consider it to be a total waste of time and that it will have no effect in their lives. Yet, I find it is a topic that more people are becoming interested in and being positive is gaining popularity.

I have found it makes a real difference in my life. I have had times where I have had a little affirmation that I have said to myself each morning or a sweet song that I have sung to uplift my spirits. I have also had times where I have needed a rock song with just the right words to play really loud to help me to think positively.

What do you do to stay positive? 
Do you find thinking happy thoughts makes a difference?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nathan and 100,000 step challenge

My son Nathan is an extremely motivated and competitive young man.
He likes to set goals for himself and achieve the impossible.

As his mother, I sometimes worry about what crazy goal he is going to set for himself.
It is hard for me to watch as he pushes himself so hard and to see him end up being disappointed every so often because he did not reach his goal.

Nathan's class at school is participating in the Global Children's Challenge. 

It is a health initiative designed to get children from all over the world active, and instill in them the habit and importance of daily exercise for the rest of their lives. It is facilitated by teachers within classrooms and it empowers children to change their relationship with exercise, their bodies and the environment. The benefits extend beyond making exercise easy and fun – it compliments the curriculum, covering everything from geography and social studies to history and technology.

Every student in the class has a pedometer to record how many steps they take each day.
At first they were instructed to aim for an average of 15,000 steps a day.

Nathan was happy with this and managed to pass this amount easily. He has been trying his best to get as many steps as he can each day to support the total amount of the class in the challenge running online.

Last week Nathan decided he was going to try to get 50,000 steps. He woke up early, walked to school, walked home from school and spent all his waking hours running around our back yard until he reached his goal of 50,000 steps.

He was super excited and very happy with his result. I was impressed that he gave up his computer time and all other fun activities after school to achieve this result. He went off to school proud of his result.

A couple of days later he came home from school to tell me that someone in his class had beaten his top class score. I stayed silent, waiting. Waiting for what was to come next. I knew in my heart that Nathan was going to set some impossible goal and I was scared. For him and for me!

So, during the week Nathan got this idea in his head to try to achieve 100,000 steps.

After mentioning it to his class teacher and hearing his response of something like this:
'Nathan that is not something you need to worry about or that is impossible to achieve'.
I knew we were in trouble and that the response was like a red cape to a bull!

Nathan decided to chose Saturday as the day to accomplish his 100,000 steps challenge.
He sat down and calculated just how many steps he would need to achieve each hour to reach his goal.

He woke up early on Saturday morning and started ‘stepping’ at 5:30am.

It was a hot day, a long day and Nathan worked really, really hard all day to get as many steps as he could. I was so impressed with his commitment to his goal, his determination to achieve it and with how hard he pushed himself to get as many steps as he could.

Nathan halfway through the day at 50,000 steps - worn out!

Halfway through the day I could see that Nathan was tired and needed a boost.
So what does a mum to do? Start 'stepping' too!

I put on my ipod and started my grandma shuffle around and around the backyard. We sang loud songs, high fived each other everytime we passed, laughed and had fun!

One of my favourite moments came when the three little ones spotted us outside and all came running out together and followed us around and around. It was great to be running together as a family and to be supporting Nathan in his crazy challenge.

At around 8pm at night, Nathan was exhausted. He had been running all day and still had a long way to go towards achieving 100,000 steps. I had a chat to him. I told him I was impressed with his efforts and that he had worked really, really hard. I reminded him that if he stopped now he still had done a wonderful job and it was alright to change his mind about the challenge.

Nathan thought about it for a minute and then said that he wanted to keep going.
He wanted to reach his goal of 100,000 steps. I could see he was beyond tired, his legs ached and his feet were sore. But, he had a vision of what he wanted and knew he could reach it.

This boy is just amazing!

At 11:45pm Nathan reached his goal of 100,000 steps.

I could not believe it. He ran from 5:30am-11:45pm and pushed himself so hard.

Getting close to the goal!
 The finishing time!

He is a great example to me that if we are prepared to do some hard work we can achieve our goals and achieve the impossible. I love that he let me tag along for the ride and helped me to push myself too!

I was so glad to see my bed at the end of the day and am now hoping that Nathan does not decide to set another 'stepping' goal!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

MooBear Designs

This weekend I am feeling grateful for kindness and just want to share a little more about what has touched me this week.

As part of Blogtoberfest many bloggers are doing giveaways. I of course love a giveaway and have been having fun coming up with comments and entering as many as I can.

One of the giveaways I entered was over at MooBear Designs.
I was delighted to learn that I had won the giveaway and was going to be sent a gorgeous zip brooch.

All of us girls here were super excited and you can imagine our surprise when we received our parcel in the mail loaded with headbands and brooches. *insert giggles and squeals* The girls went crazy and immediately started wearing as many as they could. They look absolutely fabulous and we love them.

I was touched that Stephanie thought about just how many girls we have in our house and was so kind and generous in sending us more. I of course felt that this kindness needed a big 'shout out' and thanks!

Here are some of the special items we received:


MooBear designs creates:

Childrens clothing with a conscience.
Every design is hand made using recycled fabrics making each one original and unique.
The Big Kid's Tees are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified (free of harmful chemicals), 100% cotton, ethically made and eco-friendly.

They make rings, brooches, clutches, baby bibs, earrings and toys!

They also have a Refashioned, Recycled, Reclaimed Accessories label...Over It!.
Over It!'s mission is to leave a clean mark on the Earth by recreating everyday items which we see and use in a whole new way...You can check out Over It! items at the Madeit store.

They also have a blog over Here.

So go and check them out this weekend!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Saturday I'm grateful for ... kindness

This Saturday I am grateful for.....Kindness.


1. Last week Sam and Eli were invited to a birthday party. As twins they normally get one invitation to share as the invite. When this happens I find they are often treated as 'one' and it can cause a little trouble working out who gets to hold the invitation etc. For this party, I was delighted that the mother of the little girl having the party went out of her way to make an invite for both Sam and Eli. She even went the extra mile to make them different and unique. I was touched by her kindness and caring concern for my boys and appreciated that her efforts made my life just that little easier for the day.

2. For good friends who took the time to listen to my ramblings and rantings over a little personal drama that happened in our house this week. I am grateful that they showered me with kind words, uplifted me and gave me the strength to continue on.

3. For my husband, who even though we had plans for last night, gave them up at the last minute so that I could go out and attend an event that I really wanted to see and participate in. I am grateful that he gives me wings to fly and does not restrict me in my personal growth and creative desires.

4. For my children, who every so often can see when I am worn out and downright exhausted and offer to carry some of my load. They try their best to help me out and make me feel better. I am grateful for the little massages, the hugs, the salad making and the boldness they have in dragging me off to bed for some rest.

I am linking up with Maxabella loves today. Drop on by and see what others are grateful for.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Liberty Big Girl

A big thanks to everyone who linked up yesterday. 
I loved your thoughts and honesty in relation to motherhood.
It sure is a tough job and lonely career some days.
***********

Today I want to share some of my feelings I have been having this week about my Liberty.
They are mixed feelings and I am having trouble working my way through them.

You see, she is growing up way too fast.
Actually she is growing up at an alarming rate - insert sobbing and tears.

Liberty is my youngest child, my baby, who is turning into such a big girl before my eyes that I am having trouble keeping up. Everyday she is changing and growing.

I am feeling a mixture of happiness and sadness at the same time.

I love that she is increasing her vocabulary (expect when she told me to 'shut up' yesterday!) and participating more in our family conversations.

I love that she can get herself dressed, can brush her own teeth and help herself to food in the fridge (alright, only on some days I like that).

I love that she wants me to read books to her more, that she always says she 'needs a drink' etc instead of 'I want a drink', that she can take herself off to the toilet and put her own seat belt on (when she is in a good mood).

Liberty is doing a great job with her toilet training - not having many accidents at all and I am happy to report that she is 'offically toilet trained' woo hoo! insert massive cheering and clapping!

Before we started the toilet training if you asked her what her name was she would answer:

"Liberty Little One"

as I always call her my 'little one'.

Now after toilet training if you ask her what her name is she answers:

"Liberty Big Girl"

even Liberty knows she is getting older. Sob!

To deal with this, I think I need to take more pictures.
To capture those moments I want to remember forever.


 I think she is growing up so fast because she is always trying to keep up with the boys.


I want to remember the sad days and...


...the happy days.


What do you do to treasure your children growing up?
Are taking pictures enough?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Mother's Heart, a good mother

Motherhood has changed me in so many ways. It has changed my thoughts and my heart.

One of the greatest changes has been my perspective on what makes a good mother.

As a young mother I had these grand notions that being a 'good' mother meant playing with children all day and letting them do whatever they wanted. Man, did I have my head in the clouds! I can still remember clearly the day I was shocked to learn that I needed to discipline, to teach, to restrain and to help create a house of order in our home.

At the start I found it difficult and emotional. Now, after being a stay-at-home-mum for 12 years, with my younger kids I often think to myself:
"Good try...
I have seen it all before! 
So not going to work". 

My poor cherubs.

Recently, I was asked by a young friend of mine to list what I thought were essential qualities needed to be a good mother. I thought it would be an easy task and found I needed several days to really ponder over what I would add to my list.

It was a wonderful opportunity to assess where I was at, what I believed to be essential and to look at the long way I still had to go in my mothering skills. Here are some of the qualities that made it onto my list in no particular order (now remember this is an ideal kind of list and there is no such thing as a perfect mother):
  1. Knows the power of prayer (is humble and knows she is not alone in this work)
  2. Cooking skills (knows how to plan and make healthy meals)
  3. Sense of humour (being a mother can be down right depressing some days, being able to laugh makes a big difference)
  4. Organised (a house of order brings happiness and routine brings security)
  5. Kindness/compassionate (children face pressure everywhere, they need a soft voice and a refuge at home)
  6. Self reliant (can emotionally face challenges and deal with them)
  7. Selfless (understands that being a mother is about serving the family 24/7)
  8. Good listener (knows when to bite her tongue and just listen)
  9. Honest (with herself and her children)
  10. Patient (knows the importance of sacrifice and going without)
 There are a lot more qualities I would add but to have a little fun I decided to also send her my added bonus list:
  1. Knows how to have fun
  2. Can sing
  3. Can dance
  4. Has fashion sense
  5. Technology skills
  6. Knows how to throw a good party
  7. Can draw
  8. Bargain shopper :)
So what would you put on your list of what makes a good mother? 
Is it a long list or does it just have a few qualities?

While you are thinking about it - I would love you to link up with our 'Mother Heart' Linky.
It can be an old post, a new post and any type of post that relates to being a mother.

I am looking forward to your thoughts and heart felt words.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Rock climbing

I love that children can find joy in everything around them.
They naturally want to play all the time.

Example below:
Rocks + Kids = Fun


I am linking up with Aussie Wordless Wednesday. Pop on over and have a look and link up too!

Don't forget to drop by tomorrow when I am doing my 'Mother Heart' linky day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

no sugar family challenge

Every so often Matt and I like to challenge our family.

When things are cruising along smoothly in our home {I am talking about 'general' every day things running smoothly - it actually does happen...sometimes!} we like to add a challenge to the mix to get us out of our comfort zones a little and stretch ourselves.

We do it to remind the kids that we can do hard things in our family and with the support of each other we can do 'incredible things'.

Of course I always feel I should be excluded from all 'stretching activities' as after having seven kids - I have been seriously stretched in more ways than one! Lets not go there.

Anyway, back to the challenge...

It all started when I began noticing that every day we seemed to be having some sugar type snack after school or sugar loaded dessert after dinner. It was being purchased, cooked and dished out like we were addicted to it.

So I came up with a plan.
The Plan.
Step 1. Go to the cheesecake shop.
Step 2. Buy the biggest, yummiest cake you can find.
Step 3. Put it in the fridge and don't tell anyone what it is for.

The cake selected for the challenge. Step 1, 2 and 3 complete!

Step 4. Gather everyone to the table.
Step 5. Bring out the cake.
Step 6. Smile whilst the ooohhh! and ahhhh's! take place.
Step 7. Start the talk:

I have noticed lately we have been eating a lot of sugar. A lot of lollies, cakes and treats. I think we need a break. It is not healthy to eat so much sugar. I would like to offer you a challenge.

The challenge is to not eat any food that contains lots of sugar for 10 days.
{meaning lollies, cake, chocolate, treats}

I chose 10 days to start with because my children are young and I knew it was a number they could cope with and count to.

To start this challenge we will have a piece of cake as a celebration of our last sugar fix and to remind you that we are not eating sugar.

{I know this sounds weird but I knew my kids would remember eating a cake from the cheesecake shop and know we are on a challenge}.

You can only have a piece of cake if you accept the challenge.
Who will accept the challenge and wants a piece of cake?

Let's see who wanted to participate in the challenge:
Hmmm....I count 9 cake plates.

By the way
~ can you see the hunker of a cake piece I cut for myself ~ 
Houston we have a problem!

You would think I was going on a sugar fast for 10 years
Oh! No! left overs...

The Result.

I was really impressed with my four oldest children. They took the challenge seriously.

They turned down offers of snacks from friends at school, they turned down chocolate cake at church and they were great at home. I know they were secretly counting down the days until the end of the challenge and could not wait for a sugar hit. I was so astonished that I only had to remind them a few times about the challenge when they started asking for lollies or cake. I thought I would have to be at them constantly and it made it so much easier to get through with their support.

The younger children did not understand the challenge as much as the older ones and to help them I made sure there was a lot of fruit on offer whenever they got hungry and wanted food out of our snack cupboard.

Overall, we really did not miss the treats. I felt so much better for not eating it and I noticed a difference in the behaviour of our children. It was worth the effort and I secretly want to keep it up. I am trying to add more fruit and vegetables to our diet and to provide healthier snacks after school. I find it takes more planning and money to eat healthier. The benefits are worth it and I am finding it a challenge to stay on top of it.

What do you do in your family? Do you create challenges or do you have enough already?

Monday, October 18, 2010

blogging for weight loss

When I started this blog, I was very relaxed about how often I would post my thoughts and family adventures. I lacked the confidence to share how I was really feeling inside and did not take blogging very seriously. Since becoming a little more serious and confident about writing and blogging I have noticed my routine has changed.

I used to get up and go to the gym at 5:30am in the morning. I was feeling fit, happy and energetic to keep up with my little tribe of kids. Now, I get up early and blog. Need I say more?

This change has led to tighter clothes, more tiredness and me being a more grumpier mum.

Even though is some ways I am grumpier, I am also feeling happier than before because I am able to express myself and I am really enjoying connecting with so many other mum's out there in blogging land.

But...I want to be able to do both - be fitter and blog!

For me I need to exercise in the morning. If I do not do it then, it just will not happen. With so many kids, something always needs to be done at night time - homework, massive amounts of washing, last minute dash to the shops for food etc. I just cannot get it to work.

So I am trying a little experiment.

I am getting up at 5:30am again and hitting the gym {man alive am I feeling it!} and I have shifted my blogging time to later in the evening. I am working on blogging at 8-9pm when I always feel like having a little after dinner snack. In our house we generally have dinner early at 5pm, so by 8pm I am ready for another meal! I am hoping that if I am busy blogging at my computer that I will not be tempted to wander into the kitchen and to help myself to a little something delicious to reward myself after a long day.

Anyone else out there like to do that????Feel that they need a food reward each night???

I am trying to change my thinking by telling myself that the best reward I can give myself is NO food at night.  It is going to require some serious self control and I know I will feel much better for it in the long run. Speaking of running - I am still at the walking stage but am so looking forward to getting back into running again.

Let's hope this little experiment works and I start to feel better again. 
Who knows, my blogging might even improve! Ha!

and to all my Blogtoberfest friends:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

wheat bag bliss

I am in recovery mode today. Resting and taking care of a few sick children.

I had a big day yesterday as I helped to put on a formal dinner {which felt like I was organising a mini wedding and is really out of my comfort zone!} and with the kids we have a serious case of the coughs in our house.

On mornings like this one of my 'little helpers' whenever I feel worn out is my wheat bag. I love to heat it up and use it to help me relax. I love that it forces me to sit still and to rest - to enjoy the heat and to stop.

It also find it helpful as it sends a message to the kids that I am resting and need a little more love!

This is how I like to wear mine:


Attractive I know! But it works!

What do you use to relax? Do you find it difficult to stop? Do your kids let you have time out?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

flower discovery walk

During the week we had one of those days. Where I was tired and grumpy, the kids were tired and grumpy and we just needed to get out of the house. I think all the rain we have been having contributed to this mood - being stuck in the house for days on end tends to drive us all a little stir crazy!

I was not in the mood for packing everyone up and heading off on a long distance trip or even heading off to look around the shops. So we went with simple and decided to take a walk down our street to see how many flowers we could find.

It ended up being a really lovely adventure. Our street is a normal street full of houses and we were surprised just how many different varieties of flowers we discovered.

Here were my traveling companions:


We started off slowly searching for flowers. We talked about the colours, the textures, the shapes and the smells. We looked at how they grew - small shrubs or large bushes and how some had lots of flowers and others had very few.

All was going well until I decided to start taking pictures - then I lost their attention, they ran off and I ended up chasing this:


Well, I needed the exercise anyway!
Here are some of the delightful flowers we found:


What do you do when you have had enough of being at home? 
Do you get out of the house or get creative inside the house?

For me it is always about taking the time to relax and refocus.

Friday, October 15, 2010

100 ways to be happy - Number 15. Look for personal growth


As a mother I spend most of my time helping my children to progress and grow. I am kept busy training and teaching them skills in relation to homework, sports, cooking, housework, emotional/spiritual/mental strength and daily tasks.

I celebrate and find joy in the little achievements they make and feel a great sense of peace and happiness in seeing them flourish and mature in their development.

Often I forget about myself.
I do not stop to see how far I have come and what personal growth I have achieved.

Becoming the mother I always wanted to be did not happen the moment I had a baby. Nor did it happen when the baby came home from the hospital. I needed time and experience to learn, to grow and to develop. Often it came from painful experiences, many times caused by my own mistakes and those moments in life where you feel stretched past your limit. I know you know what I am talking about!

When I had my first daughter, having one baby was all I knew and it was all I could handle and cope with. There were days when it was just too much effort to leave the house and to go to the shops. It was hard and I felt exhausted and stretched to my limit. I felt grumpy, tired and often depressed that I was not being the type of mother I wanted to be and I only had one child! and she was a good, happy child too! I had no idea how I was going to cope with having a large family and knew that this was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

Now, I have had more experience and I can go to the shops with seven children if I really need to. It is still hard but I can handle it and I have grown into the role of mothering seven children.

{painful shopping experiences that is for sure! I still remember clearly this one day when I had four kids with me all screaming their heads off in the grocery store and a lady walked past and said 'I am so glad I am not you!' and walked off not even bothering to help me out!} 

As I look back I can see that I have grown in many ways...

some good 
{I can cook better, discipline better, be better organised and have life skills to handle situations that come my way} 

and some not good 
{talk about growth...my butt has grown, my chocolate eating has grown and my stress levels have grown} 

as I have been on this mothering journey. I have tried my best to learn from my mistakes and make real changes in my behaviour. I have come to learn that to be happy I need to look for my own personal growth.

To do this I need to look beyond the daily routine of life which consumes so much of my time. When I find I can get a moment to myself it makes a real difference when I can see how I have improved and blossomed. Most of these moments are simple:

  • celebrating cooking a new recipe
  • making time for exercise
  • finishing a book
  • staying calm in difficult situations
  • finishing my to-do list
  • catching up on paperwork
  • keeping up with the bills
  • getting everyone to an event 
  • getting everyone home from an event!
To look for personal growth I also find it helps to keep a healthy and realistic perspective.


"Rise to the great potential within you. 
I do not ask that you reach beyond your capacity. 
I hope you will not nag yourselves with thoughts of failure. 
I hope you will not try to set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. I hope you will simply do what you can do in the best way you know how. If you do so, you will witness miracles come to pass.'

Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mother Heart - Linky Day!

One of my passions is mothering. I love talking and writing about it.
It is my full-time work and consumes most of my time and thoughts.

I believe it is a great work to raise children and being a stay at home mum has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has been so worth the sacrifices I have needed to make. I also believe in the power of mothers. I feel it is important to strengthen mothers as women.

One of the ways that I am really strengthened as a mother and a woman is by learning, hearing, reading and talking to other mothers about how they raise their children. About the struggles they have and the challenges they face. I love learning from other mothers how they feel about mothering and what little things they do in their homes to be better mothers for themselves and their children.

So today I hope you can join in and link up 'A Mother Heart' post.
It can be an old post, a new post and any type of post that relates to being a mother.

I am looking forward to your thoughts and heart felt words
I am also hoping to get some time this week to make a 'button' so that you can place it on your blogs too!

Don't forget I am also doing a Giveaway!
It is a wonderful book 'A Mother's Book of Secrets'.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gummi Bear Game


Needed:
  • 1 packet of Gummi Bears
  • Children
Get children to line up ~ then try to throw Gummi Bears into their mouth!

Result:
  • Giggles
  • Fun

Don't forget to enter my Giveaway 

to win a 'Mothers Book of Secrets'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

harmony's birthday part 2: the art party

I am lucky to have Harmony. She nearly did not make it into our family.

When I was delivering Harmony the birth went bad very quickly and she was born by an emergency caesarean. It all happened so fast that Matt missed the birth and after the medication wore off I was just so grateful that I had a healthy baby to hold. As a family we are thankful that we have her as part of our lives.

Harmony has been waiting and waiting for this birthday to arrive. You see, we have a tradition for the girls that when you turn seven you can choose if you want to have your ears pierced. Harmony made her choice at the start of the year and it has been a long wait for her so that she can be like her older sisters.

We set off for the appointment to get her ears done. Harmony was a little scared and after listening to the stories of what happened with her sisters I am amazed she went ahead with it! Liahona came along for support and was a good distraction for what was to come.

marking the right spot

Well, the first ear went great...the second not so good. I don't know what happened but the second hole is way too close to her head and we are going back in 4 weeks to mark another hole! What a nightmare is all I have to say! We will be numbing the ear and doing everything we can to make it as pleasant as possible...aarrgh! not a happy mum and daughter...

The rest of the day turned out great. We had our art party, cake and games.
Here is something that I have learned about having a family party:
With a kids party where other kids come over, I find they are generally intense and only go for a few hours ~ a family party is exhausting and tiring ~ it goes on for the whole day!!!


Harmony really wanted a cake with My Little Pony on top so I bought a cake top to add to our homemade one and she was one happy girl!



Some of the characters that were drawn during our art party!

In keeping with my tradition of writing reasons why I love my kids according to their birthday age ~ here are seven things I love about Harmony:

1. I love her smile. She has the biggest, brightest smile. Her whole face lights up!
2. I love that she is brave. She can sing in front of a large audience and sing in key.
3. I love that she is in touch with her feelings and will often say when her feelings have been hurt.
4. I love that she has always had a great desire to learn and to read. She is so happy now that she can read for herself and loves discovering new words.
5. I love that she loves to write and express herself. She puts together stories and plays, complete with words and drawings.
6. I love that she wants to speak up ~ in a family of many children she is not afraid to share her opinion and make her voice known.
7. I love that she is in my life. That she reminds me to be silly, to have fun and to chill out every so often.

Harmony did not want a photo shoot for her birthday so here are some recent snaps of her:


School holiday dress up - pirate day!


Singing at the school performance - being Dorothy.


Baking cookies at home.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart, enjoy your year!

Monday, October 11, 2010

harmony's birthday part 1: maintaining an image

Having felt like I just recovered from the last birthday, I once again swung into party mode for Harmony's birthday. I sat down with her and asked what she wanted to do for her birthday. This year was not a big party year for her and I suggested that she have a few friends over like we normally do.

As I chatted with her I was very surprised by her response and the following conversation we had really shocked me.

I asked Harmony 'Do you want to have some friends come over for a little party?'
Harmony replied "No. I don't want any friends to come over."
Me 'Why not? don't you want to share your birthday with your friends and have fun?'
Harmony "No. All my friends like me at school because I am cool. If they come to my house they won't think I am cool any more."
Me ~ picking myself up off the floor "What do you mean if they come to your house they won't think you are cool?"
Harmony 'Our house is not cool.'

You know sometimes as parent I think I am doing a good job and then a short little conversation with one of my kids always puts me in my place. Immediately my mind starts racing and asking questions like:

How can my daughter care so much about maintaining an image?
What is she doing at school to maintain this image?
Haven't I taught her it does not matter what others think?
What is wrong with our house?
What is a cool house?

Well, after a few more 'chats' and some moments of having to humble myself and really listen, Harmony told me she wanted to spend her birthday with just her family {I do have to add here that I was touched she wanted to spend it just with us} and she wanted to have an Art party where we all did some art together. I will post about the party tomorrow.

After thinking about Harmony and the school situation I decided to do something special for her that I knew would make her happy. On Friday I dropped her off at school and wished her a great day. I had a secret chat to her teacher and organised a time to come into the class. I then took off to the shops, picked up some small super cute cupcakes {24 to be exact}, grabbed a cheap tiara and headed back to the school.

I will always remember the look of surprise on Harmony's face as I walked into the classroom carrying a plate of cupcakes for her to celebrate her birthday with her class. I knew she secretly wanted to share it with them and as she is so young and her thoughts of her image override her emotions I did not want her to miss out! I took out the tiara and placed it on her head and she beamed that gorgeous smile as everyone sang Happy Birthday to her.

I shared my chat experience with Harmony's teacher and she mentioned that Harmony was very popular at school - that all the children in her year level want to be friends with her. I obviously think my daughter is wonderful but I had no idea so many other people did too!

So Harmony and I will be having a few more chats about image, life and school in the future and working out how we can get a healthy balance for her and her friends. Gosh, being a mother sure keeps me out of my comfort zone!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

a confident blogger, everything costs something


When I first began this blog I really did not know what I was doing. Blogging sounded fun and I thought it would be a convenient way for me to update my family on our fun adventures. I knew in my heart what I basically wanted to do with this blog but did not know how to go about doing it. I immediately loved that I had found the right platform for me to start expressing myself and sharing my thoughts and feelings with others.

As I took my time learning about blogging I educated myself about:
  • posting
  • uploading pictures
  • sourcing pictures
  • linking
  • blog design
  • networking
  • statistics
  • and advertising.
I also spent a lot of time reading other blogs. A. lot. of. time.

This has been wonderful to help in my learning process and to help me be more creative with my thinking. I have seen so many wonderful ideas and been touched by the creativity of so many women.

But, I have discovered that everything comes with a price and this time is costing me.
Costing me precious time away from my family, hours of sleep and time with my husband.

In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.
Blogging is taking up time I should be spending on my family relationships.

As I have pondered this thought, I started to see that I have reached a point where I am a more confident blogger. Can't believe I feel this way! *a little excited*

I think I have progressed {I do acknowledge I still have lots to learn} and have developed enough  skills to go my own way.

Basically, what I am trying to say is that I don't think I need to:
  • keep checking what others are doing
  • who they are linking to
  • what images they are using
  • what topics are getting the most comments
  • who they have on their blogroll and 
  • what type of blog design they have.
I am going to just go my own way. Put my head down and write the way I want, to blog the way I want and not worry about what anyone else is doing. Wow! I am feeling free already.

My family is too precious to me and my children are growing so fast.
I want to enjoy them while they are still young and be in the moment, to not be distracted and to give them one of the greatest gifts I can ~ My time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

100 ways to be happy - Number 90. Be grateful

I have many things to be grateful for.
I live a blessed life.
It is something I try to remind myself of all the time.

I love a line of a church hymn that I sing to myself often:

'Count your blessings, name them one by one,
and it will surprise what the Lord has done.'


image

Today I am grateful for:

1. Rain - this week I did some more planting in our garden and I am grateful for this downpour to help them settle and grow. Saving me time, money and water.

2. Birthdays - today is my daughters 7th birthday and it is wonderful to 'give' her some special gifts that I know she has been wanting. I love to see the children's face light up with excitement as they open their presents and delight in what I have chosen just for them.

3. Friends - for the opportunity to go out and to chat about the mundane things of life. To share experiences, feelings and difficulties. To enjoy laughter, smiles and chocolate cake!

4. Giggles - watching my children play games. To see the excitement building as they pass the parcel, dance to music and overload on sugar!

We are in party mode today. Cake, balloons, games.

If you are interested in what others are grateful for check out maxabella loves.

Friday, October 8, 2010

nappy freedom and a Giveaway

The children seem to be growing at an alarming rate around here and I am feeling rushed off my feet.
I am seeking calmness, peace and a little free time. So not going to happen right now but I can dream a little...

This week I took the three youngest off for a delightful walk down our street on a 'flower discovery' adventure and had a great time. Pictures will of course come later!

Most exciting of all has been that after 12 years of changing nappies non-stop my time and season of nappies is finally OVER. Can you believe it? I can't believe it! I am so loving it!

Liberty has been a dream to toilet train. I had a little chat with her about being a big girl now and took the nappies off and have not put them back on once! There have been several accidents {to be expected} over the past week and I was shocked at night when I put her to bed that she did not wet the bed...at all! Every day I would get up expecting that her bed would be wet and I would find it dry...what a blessing.

So with all this free time and money {seriously we could have bought an investment property with all the money we have spent on nappies} I am looking forward to directing my time to some other joyous pursuits.
*insert serious crazy dance* 

I don't have to buy nappies, 
I don't have to change nappies, 
I am nappy free!

So to celebrate I thought I needed to do a Giveaway.
My first one ever.

As I am participating in blogtoberfest this month and they are doing a bunch of giveaways I thought I should jump on the giving, sharing bandwagon too!

After pondering what I should giveaway I decided it should be something for mothers to help them in their mothering and something that I love - therefore it had to be a mothering book.

So here it is and here are the guidelines:


It is a wonderful book written by Shawni Pothier from 71 toes with her mother about the keys to making motherhood memorable, meaningful and Magnificent!
{I will tell you more about it over the next couple of weeks}

To enter the giveaway:

1. Add yourself as a follower on my blog.
2. Become a liker on my facebook page. If you do not use facebook you can still enter!
3. Leave a comment below sharing one of your Mother Secrets that you have learned on your journey to becoming a magnificent mother.
4. Make sure you have email connected to your profile as I need to be able to email the winner or add it with your comment.
5. Blog about it, share the joy and let other mothers know about this awesome giveaway!
6. This giveaway finishes on Friday October 29th at 5pm.

I am super excited to see your comments and ....
remember if you have a little of this happening in your house:


You SO need to enter this giveaway!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Mother's Heart, Linky List

The heart of a mother.
Her emotions, feelings, soul and passion.

What a tender, delicate, loving and nurturing muscle.
A muscle that can be compassionate and kind but...
also strong, powerful, courageous and full of strength, force and might.

My heart has grown in size and abundance since I became a mother.
Sometimes through choice and sometimes through force.

I have had experiences that have made my heart melt and my heart break.
I have had to be humble and loving and also stand strong with courage and fight.

What a gift and a blessing my kids are.
As I try to teach and train them, I find they are really the ones teaching and training me.
Helping me to be more heavenly in my actions, thoughts and words.

I sure have a long way to go and so much to learn.
But, I know I am not on this journey alone.

I have support from friends, family and a loving Heavenly Father.
There are also many other mothers learning right along with me.

Trying to be the best they can and taking the time to share what they have learned.
I so enjoyed reading what was shared last time we linked up.
It helped me to develop a better 'Mother Heart' as I read about your challenges and joys.

I have decided to call this Linky 'A Mother Heart' because often as mothers the way that we write is straight from the heart. We share our burdens, our desires, our worries and our deepest sorrows and joys. We need to share them to uplift each other and to know we are not alone.

So today I hope you can join in and link up 'A Mother Heart' post.
It can be an old post, a new post and any type of post that relates to being a mother.

I am looking forward to your thoughts and heart felt words xx

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

christmas hats

I went food shopping the other night and saw Christmas Hats in the shops...no way...already?
I had a flashback and it made me remember this:


p.s * super excited * I have worked out what I want to have as my first giveaway...
stay tuned!
taking the photo's this week.

I am linking up with Aussie Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

reflections on motherhood, letter to myself

Some of you may have seen this clip about reflecting on motherhood....
It is a simple message that brings your mind back to the basics of mothering.
I enjoyed it and it got me thinking about what advice I would have given myself as a young mother.




After viewing this clip and pondering over the messages, I decided to write some thoughts down on what I would have let myself know:

Naomi,
You have great dreams and aspirations about being a mother.
Hold fast and strong to your dreams and goals. 
It will be the hardest work you will ever do.
You will make mistakes along the way and you will learn many lessons.
It will test you and stretch you more than you could ever imagine.
Your body is an amazing gift that will support you in your dreams.
You will vomit and cry, vomit and cry and vomit and cry some more.
You will pray and search for help and find it when you need it the most.
Trust your instincts and follow your heart.
You will face opposition about raising a large family from strangers and even your closest friends and family.
At times you will feel that you cannot go on....
that this lonely road is too hard to travel.
At those moments know that you have the inner strength, the determination and the wisdom to clearly see what choices you need to make that will bring you and your family joy and happiness.
You will be blessed with wonderful, caring, gorgeous children who you will delight in and make all the pain, tears, lack of sleep and exhaustion worth your while.
Learn from other mothers what works best and apply it to your family. 
Your husband will be your greatest support and strength.
He will be there for you every day as you travel this journey of raising a family and will still love you when you are large, emotional and worn out.
Look to him for love, kindness and humour.
Don't try to be perfect.
Forgive yourself daily.
Love who you are and what you are trying to become.
Your children will love you and cherish you.

Love,
Naomi the mother of seven cherubs


What would you tell yourself?

Monday, October 4, 2010

car happiness, driving a bus

In the last month we purchased a car.
A lovely commodore that is blue {of course}, that is stylish and great to drive.

I love it. It has eight seats and I can fit in it with my seven cherubs.
The car I normally drive is a commuter bus.

This is what it looks like:

We have great fun in this bus.
I wrote a post about driving it here called Does my butt look big with this bus?

Since purchasing our new car I have noticed that my kids fight and fight whenever they are in it.
It has been a real surprise to me.

They sit a lot closer together, they argue over who is going to sit where and I feel like it is a miserable experience going anywhere with them in it. Whenever I am driving I seem to spend most of my time sorting out disputes and think I am heading for a car accident with all the carry on that happens.

My good old bus is where the happiness is at and what the kids love.
They don't care about what our car looks like and have the most fun with what we already have.

So I am back to driving around my bus and feeling safer and happier.

I have been looking for new ideas to spruce my bus up {I still want to paint it blue} and think I have found just the paint job we need:


So what do you think?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

motherhood, be at the crossroads

I have been doing a little reading about motherhood and falling in love again with a talk I read by Ezra Taft Benson titled 'To the Mothers In Zion". I love his uplifting, encouraging words:

"Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realisation of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world"

Some days I feel like all my effort and caring is not making any difference, that my children don't appreciate the love and tenderness I try to show them. His words remind me that this great work I am doing within the walls of my home is making a great influence and is a noble work.

His talk also got me thinking about how as a mother I try to be around for my children. To be at home during those crucial times when they might need me. For those precious moments when the children leave and return from school, when they bring friends over and when in the future they return home from dates and other fun nights out. 

I want to be there for them whether they are six or sixteen.
I want them to know I am interested in them.
That I care about them.
That I am a support, a listening ear and a friend.

Often they don't seem to need me, or want to chat to be about anything really serious, or really seem to need me to be there but...I make it a priority every day to be available during those times in case they do need me and I can do or say something that might help them for the better.

Being at the crossroads means I need to be prepared.
I have a snack ready so we can sit down and chat.
I have thought of questions I want to ask them and clear my schedule so I can listen.

Often I use this time to chat to the kids about school.

How was your day? Who did you play with?
What games did you play? Did you feel sad today?
What made you happy today?

These questions have really given me an insight into how they are feeling which in a lot of ways I feel is more important than what did you learn today or what did you study about today?


I believe that as we focus on being around at those crossroads moments we can help guide them to live a memorable happier life. We can help them with the choices they make and support them in the challenges they face.

I know not every mother has this luxury to be at home and many mother's are trying their best to be available when it matters most. For this I think mother's will be blessed in the relationship they have with their children. It helps them grow into secure adults as they feel of the devotion that mothers have towards them.

Being a mother is a noble work and I love that I get to make my life more memorable by being at home and get to help the life of my children be more memorable as we chat and snack and talk about the things that matter most.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blogtoberfest and Happiness ideas #10 ~ Plan family fun

 Yesterday I signed myself up over at Tinniegirl to participate in:

 you can check out the fun over at: blogtoberfest.

All you need to do is post daily on your blog for the month of October and you are playing along
~ I so think I am up to the challenge and any excuse to do some blogging ~ 
I am in.

We have been having a relaxing morning here in our house. No sport, no appointments. Bliss.

I woke up and got right into helping out with the toilet training {which is going really well by the way} and started my day by singing 'twinkle twinkle little star' and the theme of 'Star Wars' to help get things happening in the toilet department! I am so not a singer but if it means no more nappies then I am going to sing that Star Wars theme like a bird and smile while I am doing it!

Now onto spreading some happiness. If you are new to my blog one of the fun things I am doing this year is photographing and sharing my 100 ways to be happy list. Some of my other ideas can be found here:


Alright, onto the latest addition.

One of the lessons Matt and I have learned throughout life is that if you don't plan family activities, adventures and outings - they generally don't happen. I say generally because sometimes we have a lot of fun on the spur of the moment when we just decide to take off somewhere ~ and yes, it is possible to just take off somewhere with seven kids. I yell out - go to the bathroom, grab a hat, get a drink and jump in the car - we are out of here!!!! 

For real serious family fun though we plan and prepare. Our family is involved in many different activities like school, church, community events and sports. We try to make it a priority to plan family fun before other responsibilities because life can get so busy and serious. We find we need a release and time together as a family to be happy.

We take the time to schedule it into our calendars, organise the food, the expense, the traveling, the accommodation {don't get me started on that!!!} and find it brings great happiness to our family and we all love having something to look forward to. 

Sure some of the best plans can fall to pieces and end up a disaster with children crying, tempers flaring, someone throwing up, someone getting lost, someone refusing to co-operate and it all seeming like it was a whole waste of time - but even those challenging holidays or family fun adventures have moments of happiness running through them for everyone to enjoy. 

Recently, we took the kids out of school {we think they deserve a day off every so often too!} and headed down the Gold Coast to WhiteWater World. It had been wet and raining during the week and on the day we decided to go the weather turned out perfect and we had an absolute blast! Here are a few snapshots from our family fun:

 
Head lifeguard on duty - Matt.
{watching seven kids in water is non~stop stress...
seeing the joy on the kids faces is non~stop bliss}
So glad they have plenty of seats to cope with all the children we have - great facilities.
Liberty loves swimming and was on the go all day!
She loved the slides and ran her little legs off going back and forth.
Liahona loved soaking up the sun.
Harmony...her face says it all!
Meeting Henry the Octopus from the Wiggles.
In the wave pool...having fun!
rest time and recover time for Mum and Dad...only for a moment!
Chelsea and Matt decided that they needed a Wedgie...
lined up at the top ready to squash inside the tunnel.
Serious wedgie fun...is that really possible?
My kids so loved this slide/water dump and so it seemed did all the other kids.
anyone own this girl who is losing her pants??
Liahona and Nathan loved the thrill of the slides.
I even loved the thrill of the slides!
meeting Dora and Diego ~ a highlight for these boys!

We had a totally awesome day together - sliding, swimming, running and screaming.
Matt and I were totally smashed by the end of the day 
but it was so worth the effort and the constant watching of children.

We hope you have some family fun planned in your schedule.