Monday, February 28, 2011

Happiness 13 ~ Jump for joy

If you are a new lovely reader of my blog, you may not be aware that I am working my way through my happiness list. I am on a journey to discover 100 ways to be happy and what really makes ME happy. Along the way I am having fun with my family and learning new things.

Every so often I love to throw a happiness post in amongst my other thoughts to inspire YOU to focus on finding happiness too. So far I have discovered that to be happy I need to have a siesta, forgive others, garden and look for personal growth.

Today I have been thinking about the importance of jumping for JOY. You know, the type of fun jumping in the air you see in great family picture shoots or the type of 'Oh! what feeling' jumping you see in car ads on television.

I love part of the meaning to jump where it implies - to push oneself off a surface. It makes me think of pushing yourself of a negative surface, raising yourself higher into a better place and of using your body as a means to find joy. It also mentions to be full of lively activity. I don't know about you but if I am feeling low, I find it is very hard to jump. My body feels heavy and I don't get very far off the ground. When I am feeling happy and full of energy I can use my whole body to propel me in the air.

I love this quote:
'Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall'
Ray Bradbury

In many ways on my blog I feel I have take a BIG jump. I have overcome my fear of writing and sharing my feelings. I took a big leap by not worrying about what other people would think of me. It was hard to get started. It took a lot of energy to propel myself out of my negative thoughts and ways but I have found wonderful support and friends who have helped me strengthen my wings as I have discovered more about myself over the past year.

I still have a long way to go in my jumping and discovering but I am feeling happier and braver with every leap into greater heights that I take. I hope that you will continue to encourage me as I make mistakes and become more proficient in blogging and writing. I so appreciate your comments and love and enjoy you additional insights into my thoughts and ideas.

To celebrate all this joyous jumping, I took the kids out into the backyard to do some jumping for joy ourselves:

SAM
LIBERTY
HARMONY
LIAHONA
I hope that you can find a pinch of joy to jump about today as you start off another busy week.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Win Fantasia DVD and Blu-Ray Value Pack

In celebration of Fantasia's 70th Anniversary, Walt Disney Studio's is releasing from the Disney vault Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 in High Definition on Disney Blue-Ray in a Value Pack (RRP $49.95).

This Value Pack comes with great bonus features including:
*Disney Family Museum where Walt's daughter takes viewers on a tour of the Museum
*Audio commentary from a Disney Historian
*Disney View: including original artwork by a Disney artist
*The Shultheis Notebook: that offers an in depth look at the technical aspects of the film
*Interactive Art Gallery and Screensavers
*2 Audio commentaries from Fantasia Legacy Collection
*Musicana - Walt's inspiration for a sequel
*Destino - a short film of the special affects used in Fantasia and several more!


The first time I remember seeing Fantasia was on a big screen at the Imax Cinema. I was an adult and it was a delight. I loved the music and loved the images.

I have always had a soft spot for Mickey Mouse and now that I have children I loved being able to share this with them. This movie is a classic for a reason - it has stood the test of time. It is still after 70 years greatly loved by adults and children the world over.

Fantasia is a long movie that runs for 125 minutes and Fantasia 2000 runs for 75 minutes.
I found it is nice to have it playing in the background whilst we are doing other family activities together in our rumpus room and the kids enjoy listening to it. Fantasia is rated G and available in stores now.

Thanks to Disney and Porter Novelli we have one copy of a Fantasia Value Pack to giveaway to Seven Cherubs readers. This is going to be a quick giveaway to here are the guidelines:


1. Leave a comment below
2. Make sure you have your email address linked to your profile
3. Giveaway closes March 4th
4. Open to Aussie residents only

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blogger Butt guest post: SUPERCate

Today we are super lucky to have a guest post from SUPERCate from Keep Cate Busy who I think really has it all together when it comes to fitness and exercise. Enlighten us please Cate!

Guilt and exercise
This could be the world’s shortest post: guilt has no place in exercise.
That could be this whole post.
Honestly.
Then why do so many of us spend so much of our time and energy making ourselves feel guilty over exercise?
“I didn’t exercise today – I’m so bad”
“I’m wasting money on that gym membership – I feel awful”
“I never use that treadmill – I’m so lazy”
Yes, exercise can make you feel great and lift your mood – but not if you’ve had to literally force yourself, kicking and screaming to do it. All this beating yourself up not only sucks the fun out of what can be an enjoyable activity but leaves you feeling more exhausted and more lousy about yourself than if you just sat on the couch.
No, I’m not suggesting that just sitting on the couch is a better alternative, what I’m saying is really look at why *you* want to exercise – because you know you do, that’s why you signed up for this bloggy-butt adventure. At the end of the day you really do want to be fitter/healthier/leaner (pick your own adjective!).
however…
exercise should never be viewed as punishment.
it will never work. And even if it looks like it’s working for the first 2 days, you will never be able to maintain it. Working against your instincts is a recipe for disaster.
So I’ve compiled this simple little list of do’s and don’ts to help you keep everything in perspective the next time that nasty guilt monster sneaks up on you…
Cate’s anti-guilt exercise list:

don’t:
promise yourself you’re going to exercise everyday
punish yourself with words or actions for not exercising
think that only vigorous, sweat-producing exercise is the only kind that counts
join a gym if you can’t comfortably afford it
buy expensive exercise equipment, period.
do:
set realistic goals
give yourself permission to take a break if you’re exhausted, sick or injured
find a form of exercise that you really enjoy
exercise with friends for company and encouragement
reward yourself with pride when you have done *your* best
I hope you are all finding this journey you’ve undertaken rewarding. And if you’re struggling – reach out and talk to your friends, family and fellow bloggy-butts bloggers. A little encouragement is worth so much more than a great big pile of guilt.
thanks for reading…
xxxCate
That was awesome Cate ~ thanks so much. I so hate guilt and when it come to exercise I am really bad at talking myself down when I don't get time to fit it in.

This week for me has been good. I am a little freaked out that there are only 3 weeks left for me to reach my goal I originally set but, I am noticing a difference, feeling better about myself and happy that for once I am focusing on a new years goal that I set.

I really love reading about how you are going on your challenge and have been blown away at some of the weight you have lost. I really appreciate the support you have given to Michelle and I and even though it has been really hard to get this weight to shift I have been having fun blogging about this.

Here is a record of my journey so far:
Week 1 * 71.9
Week 2 * 71.6
Week 3 * 72.2 - Blah!
Week 4 * 71.6
Week 5 * 71.3
Week 6 * 71.0
Week 7 * 70.7
Week 8 * 70.3

I am happy to have another loss this week. This weight is moving very slowly but it is moving.
So over 8 weeks I have lost 1.6 kg - I was hoping for so much more than that but at least it is staying off. To meet my goal I have exactly 2 kg to go. Ahhhhh! I so hope I can make it but looking at my previous weeks - I am not feeling that confident.

For me it is also about making a lifestyle change and being healthier. I do feel like I am doing that.
So generally I am happy.

We would love for you to link up your Blogger Butt posts and share with us how you are going.
So head on over to Farmers Wifey and let the link love begin.

Friday, February 25, 2011

easy paper napkin craft ~ wallflowers

I am so grateful for Craft Blogs. They are currently saving my life with my girls.
My daughters love to make, to create and to craft, constantly.

Gone are they days or drawing, glueing and finger painting.
They are now into wanting to do some serious crafting and designing.

As a busy mother, coming up with new craft ideas is just very difficult and time consuming.
Enter the wonderful world of craft blogs and the blessing of finding easy cheap crafts to online.

I just have to say that I am amazed at those who have craft blogs. For me keeping up with this blog is hard work and I cannot imagine having to make something every time I wanted to do a post - the pressure would kill me! I really admire the work and effort that craft bloggers do.

In my searching recently I found this wonderful site over at Dana Made It.
Dana has this wonderful tutorial on how to make easy paper napkin Wallflowers.
You soooo need to check this out!

So I looked it over,  loved it and decided this was a craft we could actually do. I took myself off to IKEA {any excuse!} to get the paper napkins and came home to have some serious fun with my girls.
Actually, I think we went a little crazy!

Our home is now 'wallflowered' in 3 rooms and we are totally loving it. I found it was the perfect solution to a blank wall I have had in our lounge for ages and I love the texture, the colour and the boldness of the flowers. I even got some other colours to make later on when I want to change the colours around a bit. Couldn't help myself! I even have some great pink colours to add when I am ready to experiment.

Here are some snaps of our cheap craft adventure below:
laying out the napkins
 folding the napkins
fluffing the napkins
 more fluffing the napkins
 the lounge room wall - flowered
 a close up of the flowers
 they sit really nicely ~ even from side view
the girls put some in their bedrooms
they look great don't you think?

This craft was so easy and I am so grateful to find Dana's site as it will keep my girls happy for a little while. I love that they were able to make this all by themselves and can be reminded of how clever they are every day when they see it in their rooms.

I recommend you check out Dana's site - her flowers look awesome and you can tell she is way more crafty than me when you see her decorating. Thank YOU Dana.

BLOG ENVY

Do you have a blog that you just love, that you just adore and that you just can't get enough of?

I am talking about that blog.  The one you are totally in love with, the one where you adore every word they have to say and every picture that they share. The one you love so much that you just have to check it every day to see what happened overnight because you just can't stand to miss a moment of it you treasure it so much.

Now, I know for those of you that are serious die hard bloggers that you would have more than one of those blogs. I know your routine is to grab a cup of your favourite drink and then settle into your comfy chair to delight and devour and read each morning to give you that lift that you need to start your day.

I have several blogs that I treasure and envy.
Where I love every single thing they say and every single topic they write about.

In using the word envy I am using it in a positive way - meaning that they make you feel as if you would love to be like them, you appreciate them and you respect them.

One of my favourite blogs is 71 Toes written by Shawni Pothier. I adore her blog.
I love to read about her family, I love her thoughts on motherhood, her dedication to her faith and how she keeps it real in sharing her every day challenges of raising a family.
I love her photography and her humour.


Shawni works hard as a mother and wife but also makes time for herself. She uses her gifts and talents to help others. Some how she manages to spend time speaking to women at large events, serving in the community and writing books and articles about motherhood.

Here is a brief introduction to her in person: click here

In saying I envy her, I really do not want to be her, I am not trying to be her.
I love my life and my cherubs.

I am saying that I admire her and just totally adore her.
Shawni inspires me and motivates me to want to be better.
As a wife, as a mother, as a woman and as a friend. 

So lovely friends, what blogs do you love?
Where is your blog envy?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Motherheart: Mamas Who Know



Today for Mother Heart I thought I would share with you one of my favourite blogs I love to drop in on to get some inspiration on how to be more gospel~centered in my mothering.

ABOUT YOU: Hi there, I'm Erin. I spend my days as a mom and wife. Amazing, how those two jobs can fill a day right up. Along with the busyness of my family, I also enjoy photography, reading the news and when I'm feeling really good, I like to get out and run. Originally from Utah, I now reside in Dallas, Texas where my husband is wrapping up medical school. At the beginning of the summer we will board a plane for Hawaii where my husband will complete his residency. Should be a fun five years! 

YOUR FAMILY: We are the parents of two little girls. Hannah is three and Kate is one. I'm pretty sure we've forgotten what life was like before they came along.

MOTHER HEART: A few months ago I came to the grand realization that motherhood is good to me. Often times it is easy to see what a woman gives up to become a mother. Sleep, a salary, a social life and her body are just a few of many things that get put on the backburner when children arrive. But, I think we sometimes fail to see just what becoming a mother gives in exchange. Over the past three years of being a mom I have changed and grown in ways I did not expect. Not only has my heart grown, but my ability to enjoy life has expanded. I laugh more, I love more and recognize my blessings more. Motherhood has been really, really good to me. 

Like most Latter-Day Saint moms I think my goals for my family are much the same. I look forward to Temple marriages and perhaps missions for my daughters, but more so than anything I hope they develop genuine testimonies of the Savior and of His Church. After that occurs, those pivotal moments in their lives will come as completely natural. 

YOUR GOALS: In the short term, my goals are to be calm and consistent as a mother. This is my new mantra for 2011. I have learned that if I become emotionally charged with my children, it really makes no difference in their reaction to me. So, why waste the energy yelling or feeling upset with them. And whether it comes to scriptures, prayers, brushing their teeth or discipline I aim to be consistent. I think they deserve to know exactly what to expect in their home.

PICTURE:


BLOG: Less than a year ago I started feeling the need to share my testimony in a more public forum. I love blogging and so it seemed only natural. Mamas Who Know was born shortly after that as a place for me to share uplifting and gospel-centered information for moms. From crafting to cooking to home school, the web is overflowing with ideas for moms, but I wanted my site to be gospel-focused--how to become a better, Latter-day Saint mom. I don't claim to have it all together, but I do claim that the gospel makes mothering so much better. If you get a minute, I'd love for you to drop in and say Hi on Mamas Who Know.
 

around my house

I am currently de~cluttering.

Libby is cluttering.

Our pool has turned green.

My veggie garden is a bunch of weeds.

The chickens have bugs in their butt.

I am the official chicken butt washer.

I don't like being the official chicken butt washer.

We have no chocolate in our house.

I miss chocolate in our house.

We now own 4 loud 'Transformer' robots.

Don't ask!

I am starting to believe the Deceptacons really are coming to our house.

I found chocolate wrappers under the boys bed.

They stole my chocolate.

There are ants everywhere in my kitchen.

I think they stole my chocolate too!

I am trying to imagine that apple tastes like chocolate.

Liahona just noticed I threw away her favourite black boots.

Good thing the garbage was just collected.

Going to hide in my room.

She will thank me one day....maybe!

My treadmill stopped working.

I now have to be more creative with my exercise.

For a moment I thought I should keep my Blogger Butt.

Then I remembered my new years goal.

Why did I blog about that?

Too late, it is done.

I am not Libby's best friend anymore.

Sam is.

My girls want to craft every day.

I want them to clean every day.

They don't believe me that cleaning is as good as crafting.

I never see Nathan's face.

Only his hair over the top of his laptop.

I finally took my new sewing machine out of the box.

I need a plan of what to make.

Chelsea is a professional eye roller.

Lucky I have a degree in eye rolling myself.

I am going on a boot shopping date with Liahona.

Eli is finally swimming around our pool.

Sam taught him to swim.

My heart just about burst out of my skin.

Matt is going to Fiji.

Without me.

I think I need chocolate to bring me glee!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Disney - Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2

Sponsored by Nuffnang

Disney has a new movie out: Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2.
My kids loved the first movie and were really looking forward to watching the second.

On many occasions my children have asked for a cat or a dog as a pet. Watching movies like Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is the closest they get to imagining that they will have one of their own. They play with toys like the pets below and dream of having a puppy to take care of and fuss over like the doted on animals that live in Beverly Hills.


This movie starts with a dog wedding and has a running theme of love throughout the movie. The focus is on caring for others and watching out for each other as a family. I enjoyed the stories that the father Chihuahua would tell to his children - to help teach principles and to apply to family life.

Puppy mayhem turns the lives of newlywed Chihuahua parents Papi and Chloe upside down when their rambunctious, mischievous puppies present one challenge after another. But when their human owners end up in trouble, the tiny pups will stop at nothing to save them - because in good times and hard times, the family always sticks together. So Papi, Chloe and the puppies embark on a heroic adventure, proving once again that big heroes come in small packages.

This movie featuring an all-star cast, including George Lopez (voice of Papi and you may know him as the voice of Handy Manny), and complete with a litter of special features, this heartwarming tale of the meaning of family, friendship and loyalty is a special breed of fun - times five.

For me, it makes me laugh to imagine that some pets actually live like this. In over the top accomodation and pampered at every moment. I have to say that it was very cute and so clever how they make the animals looking like they are actually talking. A couple of times I had to laugh out loud because it was so cheesy I could not believe it.

My 6-9 year old kids loved it the most.  They thought it was funny and very creative. They just love to see the dogs talking and acting. Even my little cherubs got the jokes and loved the scene where the Chihuahua's enter the highly competitive Beverley Hills Dog Show. They laughed out loud at the fun they had at the show and the costumes the dogs wore.

Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is available to own on DVD and Blu-ray from February 9th.
Rated G. Bonus features include:
* This Is My Paradise" Music Video By Bridgit Mendler
* Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure Sneak Peek
* Blooper Faux Paws



If you have a child that loves Dogs, they will love, love, love this movie.

Monday, February 21, 2011

the creative family


I have just finished reading 'the creative family' by Amanda Blake Soule. She is the author of the popular blog SouleMama, where she writes about and photographs her thrifting, crafting and parenting adventures. Amanda is one clever mum and has simplicity down to a fine art.

I really enjoyed reading her book. It stirred within me a desire to simplify, to create and to connect with my children on a more personal natural level. Along with my recent visits to The Organised Housewife I am feeling the need to de~clutter and to look at the items we have around our house in a more creative, imaginative and fun way. I have been clearing out rooms and trying to set up a better play and creative fun space for my cherubs.

I love how Amanda shares that many of us are feeling the need to bring a little more simple heartfelt, handmade presence into our lives. I find I am currently craving that need. I want to slow down and take in the moment more. To see the delight in my cherubs eyes when they learn a new skill and the wonderful chatter that comes when we are creating and learning.

After reading this book and pondering a little, I remembered that I used to hang up all of my kids art and school work and lately I have been so busy that I have not been showcasing them as much as I would like. I have been so busy trying to keep up with all of the events we have happening in our family that I have found I am missing out on enjoying and appreciating the creative expressions my children have been doing.

This book is a very simple read. The ideas presented are from her blog and if you have been a mother for several years you probably would have tried most of these already. I found it is not a book for more experienced mothers to get new ideas but more a book to inspire and remind you to slow down, appreciate what resources you have around you and to get back to basics in teaching and creating with your children.

I love the idea of encouraging imagination and nurturing family connections.
How do you go about it in your house?

Cherubs giveaway winner

The day has arrived to announce the winner of the Seven 'CHERUBS' giveaway.
I have been looking forward to this and here is a reminder of what the winner will receive:
Using the random number generator, a big congratulations goes to Number 12:
So that is the lucky Cate from: Life behind the purple door
Look out for your email Cate and we so hope you and your cherubs enjoy these treasures.
Just a reminder: there still is time to enter the 'Mummy' Giveaway happening here at Seven Cherubs.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Battle of the Blogger Butts



Been one of those weeks is all I will say.
I cannot remember where I took this image from {sorry!} but whoever put it together I just love it!

Keeping it short this week. Sam and Eli just turned 5 and I have a birthday party on today to celebrate - no cake or lollies for me though, just fun and games. Well, I was really nervous about weighing myself this week as I so badly want to get into the 70's and it has been evading me for so long.

Twice I weighed myself during the week. Both times I weighed 71.0kg. Unbelievable!
By the time this morning came I did not know if I could take what the result was going to be.
I am very happy to say that finally, yes, finally I have made it into the 70's. Woo hoo!
This morning I weighed in at 70.7kg and I so had to laugh because once again I lost 300grams.
What is going on with that? This is going to be such a slow process if I lose 300grams every week.

I am happy it is another loss and that this weight is starting to shift.
It is so much more motivating when you start to see some results.

I am still eating fresh healthy food. I am exercising and eating smaller portions.
I now need to keep being consistent.
Not many days left until the Blogger Conference.
I might need to step it up a little to make my goal.

One tip that I did this week:
If you have kids ~ get them involved.
I asked my older kids to put together a work out playlist for me on itunes.
I took them to the computer, put on a song and showed them my running speed/beat.
Then set them to work putting together some songs for me to run to.
My only request: No Justin Bieber!
They did a really good job and it gave me something different to listen to.

I made a new friend this week. You can check out her blog here.
If you are looking for another place to link up your weight loss blog posts you can do it here.
If you want to get the code to make it a blog hop the code is listed down the bottom.


We hope you have had a great week this week and I look forward to reading your posts.




get the InLinkz code

Friday, February 18, 2011

5 reasons to do sponsored posts

Having a blog can lead you to many wonderful opportunities. You can meet lovely new friends, create communities and use your space to promote great businesses and products.

Over the past year I was approached to do some sponsored posts by Nuffnang.
This led to me having a decision to make. What did I want to do with my creative space?

I had to decide if I wanted to keep this space just for me or if I wanted to allow others to share it. I also had to decide if I wanted to make some money from my blog or if I was going to be happy doing all of it for free and fun. This decision is a personal choice and I know of many successful blogs who have chosen not to go down this road.

If you are a regular visitor to my site you will know that I chose to try doing sponsored posts. I know I can change my mind at any time and so far have loved the decision that I have made.

So today, I thought I would share with you my 5 reasons for doing a sponsored post:

1. It helps with Blogger Block
As I am a busy mum and want to keep the flow of my blog happening, I have found that having sponsored posts gives me a small break from the pressure of coming up with new ideas of what to write about. Knowing that I have a sponsored post coming up helps me to relax and I love that I have something fun and new lined up for my readers. It often gives me fresh ideas and inspires me to have more fun.

2. You get some great free products
With a family of many children I found doing sponsored posts a great blessing in providing me with some special treats and products to share with my children. It earns me some serious mummy points in our house and my children have something to look forward to along with me. Doing movie reviews gives us the opportunity to all sit down together and share in some family fun. My children love being one of the first to see new movies out and we love to talk and discuss what we saw.

3. You can remain in control
When I decided to do sponsored posts I loved that I could still be in control of my space. I can pick and choose which products I want featured on my blog. If a product is not in line with my values I will not review it. If I already have some personal posts that I really want to share that week, I am honest and say when I am available to do the sponsored post. I can also chose if I want to do a product review for free if I totally love it or accept the offer of payment. Generally, I chose to promote great products for free with smaller companies.

4. You get cash
Over the past year I have been blessed to earn some cash from my sponsored posts. I never ever thought that this would be possible from my little blog. I decided to do them so I could save up for one item. A new white MacBook. I was very excited to be able to earn enough money to purchase one and love that I can now blog from my new computer. I really appreciate the companies who helped me to purchase this and I really appreciate you Seven Cherubs readers for supporting me in my sponsored posts.

5. It is fun
I love having family fun and doing sponsored posts have helped our family do some activities and try new things that we would never have done over the past year. An example would be when I announced to our children that Nuffnang wanted us to have a family competition of games and fun with the boys against the girls. There was great support and excitement for the event. Sponsored posts have also helped me be more creative in my writing and photography and it gives me something fun to look forward to. I love having a voice on products and working in a fun way to share how I feel.


Thank YOU for your support and thanks Nuffnang for the sponsored posts.
P.S...this blog post was not sponsored by Nuffnang!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My 7 Birth Stories ~ Part 1



I am often asked about my birth experiences. People assume that because I have seven children that birth was an easy process for me and that was the reason that I kept going back for more. All of my experiences have been different and special in their own way and I find that I can relate to many other women because they have been so varied.

In my conversations with other mothers I have met very few people who have actually had what I would call an somewhat easy birth. To me there is no such thing. Giving birth is downright painful, exhausting, overwhelming, exilarating and incredible all rolled into one.

So to answer all the questions here are my seven brief birth experiences:

1. Chelsea * With my first birth I was very nervous and extremely excited. Having looked forward to becoming a mother for most of my life I was hoping that everything would go well and I would have the opportunity to be one. I had no idea what I was really in for, even after watching a birth movie, which I have to say totally scared me. I followed my 'What to expect when you are expecting' book every single day to answer all my questions.

I started getting regular contractions at 6 days overdue first thing in the morning on a Thursday. I was an emotional mess by this stage as I could not believe I had gone so late. I went to my doctors appointment at the hospital that day where they sent me home to wait. I knew I was in serious labour when by Thursday night I could not stop rolling around on my bed in absolute pain.

We called the hospital because I could no longer talk and breathe properly and went in about 8pm. After about 5 hours I was still in pain and by now totally exhausted. I remember screaming hysterically at one stage and the midwife telling me to calm down. After that I stayed quiet and remained in control. I made the decision to have Pethadine and it helped me sleep a little.

At around 4am in the morning they decided to break my waters and we discovered that Chelsea had become stressed and done a poo inside of me. The room immediately became full of staff and I was told I had to push her out fast or they would use the suction cap to pull her out. My idea of having a natural quiet birth changed very quickly.

I had decided to write out a birth plan and gave it to my midwife. I remember at one stage they wheeled in a large mirror to help me with my pushing. I took one look and screamed 'take it out! take it out!', that was the last time I ever wrote out a birth plan!

They let me spend the next hour pushing her out {it amazes me where you can get the energy from when you really need it} and she was born at 5am on Friday morning. I ended up having to have an episiotomy to help to get her out. There was no need for the suction cap and she was healthy and beautiful. I totally adored her and Chelsea was more perfect than I could have ever imagined and I was delighted that my dream to become a mother had come true.
 Just before having Chelsea
Chelsea several hours old

2. Nathan * As Matt was living away for work when Nathan was due to be born, we arranged for me to be induced on a weekend so that Matt could attend his birth. My pregnancy with Nathan had been very good compared to all the vomiting I did with Chelsea. I was hoping the birth was going to be shorter and easier too.

I went into hospital on a Thursday night and was given 'The Gels'. I waited to see if they would take affect and the first lot did nothing. The second administration worked. As soon as I felt the first contraction I knew it was on. I was scared stiff as I knew what I was in for this time and immediately called Matt to come into the hospital.

I was hooked up to a drip so they could monitor me and speed up the contractions if they needed to. After about 5 hours they decided to break my waters, {I so dislike having that done and it hurts so much!}, to help speed things on a little. I ended up having so much fluid that I flooded the floor and I still remember them bringing in a mop and bucket!

The pain from the contractions was terrible. I spent all of my time with my face in the gas mask and overdosed a little, alright a lot, and ended up laughing my head off to the amusement of everyone around me. For Nathan's birth I had a male student deliver him. It was not a good choice. I kept telling him I would rather have another episiotomy than tearing and he kept telling I would be fine. I still remember his face when I tore badly and he then had to spend a long time stitching me up.

Several hours later Nathan was born. When he came out he was totally blue and that was when we discovered he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck several times, very tightly. They quickly undid the cord, immediately placed him on my chest and then took him away to be checked.

I felt so blessed and lucky that he turned out healthy and well. I was scared that he could have some effects from the cord and was relieved that he could come to the room with me and we could begin our relationship together.

When Nathan was born I could not believe I had a baby boy. For some reason I always thought I would have all girls and he was just a pure delight for me.
 Baby Nathan
Chelsea and Nathan - 14 months apart in age

3. Liahona * I remember very clearly this was a difficult pregnancy and birth. I was very swollen and sore throughout the whole pregnancy. I was booked in to be induced 10 days over due. The night before my appointment on the 10th day I went into labour. I was very exhausted, very emotional and very ready to get this baby out.

I had booked myself into the Birthing Center to have another natural birth. As I went into labour without being induced I was able to attend the center. Two things I remember with Liahona was that I had to stand up every time I had a contraction and Matt doing funny dances for me on a swivel chair in the birthing suite to keep me smiling.

Once again I was hoping for a shorter birth and once again it was so not going to happen for me.  We went into hospital around 11pm at night and Liahona was born around 5am the next morning. It was a long night of contractions and very slow progress.

I remember a midwife came in, did an internal to check me and decided to help me along with my dilation process. Without telling me she used her fingers to tear apart my cervix to speed up my dilation. Then she quickly left the room. I screamed my head off it hurt so much and she was lucky I was laying down because if I could have reached her I would have hit her in the face.

I understand she was trying to help me along and I am thankful it sped up the process but, man alive the pain! So to help recover from that, to help me relax, I decided to have a bath. As soon as I sat down in the bath I felt a big thrust or shift of the baby and realised she had slipped down and her head was crowing.

The midwives immediately drained the water and told me I could not have the baby in the bath. I tried to argue with them that I would love to stay where I was and have the baby there, but guess what happened next. I had to stand up out of the bath and carefully walk {well waddle}with Liahona's head presenting, partly hanging out, to the bed holding her inside me with great difficulty. Talk about insane!

It was the longest wide legged walk of my life! Liahona was delivered on the bed healthy and well and with a full head of black hair. Totally gorgeous and very different from my other two!

It did end up being a natural birth for me and I decided from now on I was going to have a little more medication to help me get through these births. They were not getting any easier.
Liahona about 1 hour old
Now with three cherubs

4. Harmony * By now I knew I was one of those women who is always late in having a baby. This time I decided to take matters into my own hands to speed things up a little. I booked myself in to be induced about 5 days overdue.

When I went into the hospital to have a check to see if could be induced they told me to go home as the baby was not ready. Well, I was ready and wanted the baby out there and then. They looked over my records, previous birth history and decided to admit me to be induced.

The morning started off very slowly in relation to contractions and by lunch time I was in a lot of pain. Even though I was in pain I was not dilating very fast at all. I decided to have an epidural to help me get through the day.

They had a lot of difficulty inserting the epidural and I actually had it put in three times before it started to work. By the end of the third time I was emotionally worn out from having to lay still and not move during the contractions so that could put the epidural in.

About one hour later they upped my drip and the contractions really hit hard. Still very little progress.

Late in the afternoon they decided to break my waters. Have I mentioned I hate that part! Then began another long wait to see if baby would arrive. Every so often a midwife would come in to check on me.

Around 6 or 7pm a midwife came in to check on me again. All I remember is she swore and ran out of the room. I turned to Matt and said 'I am having a caesarian'. With having an epidural I could not feel anything and did not know what was wrong.

Very quickly doctors and nurses rushed in and I was taken to theater. I was told along the way I had a cord prolapse and Harmony had hand presentation. She was trying to come out arm first! Lucky for me I already was medicated and ready for surgery. I remember as I was being rushed down the corridors having a feeling of peace that everything would be alright. I held on to that feeling and used it to get me though the next couple of hours.

I ended up having an emergency caesarian and it all happened so fast that Matt missed the birth of Harmony. I was blown away how fast everyone moved to be there and how quickly they got her out. I was so, so thankful that she was healthy and that we have such wonderful technology and skilled hospital staff to help with giving birth in our day.

Harmony was just such a sweet cherub and I feel so grateful to have her in my life.
Our growing family with baby Harmony
 The four cherubs
Just gorgeous - Harmony

So in Part 2 I will share the next three births and how after having an emergency caesarian I was able to go on and not have any more caesarian births. This was a really difficult process to keep it short and brief. There is so much emotion and feeling involved in each birth.

I hope you enjoy my experiences, they are special to me as they have each given me a great gift, a wonderful cherub each time to come to our family.