Tuesday, 29 January 2013

flood

We have had an absolutely insane last few days. I’m still absorbing what has happened and is happening, it’s hard to really comprehend the extent and severity of it all. I have photos of all of this, and I’ll share them at some point for now I just need to ‘blah’, and get it all out of my head before I explode.

On Saturday, we had Mayana’s birthday party. I’ll post about that another day, because it really was a great day. It had started raining lightly on Thursday, more heavily on Friday and kept going through Saturday. It wasn’t particularly heavy, but definitely steady. We decided to have Mayana’s party inside the house, but other than that it would go ahead as planned. Family and friends travelled up from the Sunshine Coast, and all made sure to leave before dark as they would be travelling home in the rain. One of Mayana’s friends from Hervey Bay decided to stay over for the night… both his and Mayana’s very first sleepover experience! We haven’t had rain in Maryborough for quite a while now, and it was so dry here, so we were all quite happy with the downpour.

On Saturday night it apparently poured. And there was some crazy wind. Hundreds of mls of rain. We, thank the Lord, now live in a brick house with insulation in the roof and were for the most part oblivious. While there were lots of romantic things about living in a Queenslander, rainy weather was most certainly NOT one of them. Rainy stormy nights in a Queenslander are LOUD and the wind whistles incessantly through all of the cracks and gaps that you didn’t know existed. It wasn’t until the morning, when I flicked over to facebook on my phone, that I read about the rough  night all my friends in Queenslanders had had. I read a message from Mayana’s friend’s dad… There is no way through from Hervey Bay to Maryborough. Church is cancelled. Max might be spending another night with you, though we’ll try to get him later in the afternoon. Say whaaaat? A bit of facebook trawling and I find that things in Maryborough have gotten real. We’re talking flooding. Bridges cut off and water rising by the minute.

Now Maryborough is no stranger to floods. There have been reasonably significant floods here in the the last three years. The 2010/2011 floods were pretty substantial, and some parts of our town were cut off fore nearly two weeks before the waters receded. But those floods were the result of weeks of bad weather. There was a lead up to them, and there was a bit of warning. This time, it rained for three days… three. And then bam. Flood. As the day unfolded it became apparent that this was no ordinary flood. This was crazy flood. We were warned that it would definitely exceed the 2010/2011 floods, even as the rain stopped and the sun began to poke out from behind the clouds.

In the afternoon, we ventured out in to town to get a feel for what was going on. We were quite shocked. We’ve never been here for a flood before. Aside from in Kenilworth in my early childhood years, I’ve never lived in a town with a serious flood situation before. It is such a hard thing to comprehend. Your mind struggles to compute familiar roads, parks where you’ve picnicked and played and walked… disappeared beneath the murky depths of brown flood water. River where there shouldn’t be river.

The bottom of my sister’s street had ankle-deep water. The house in the far corner, a high set house but down much lower than the other side of the road, had water nearly to its top steps. Their wheelie bins were bobbing under the roof of their carport. Kids were swimming in the water, and neighbours across the road had set up their camp chairs on their front lawn, settled for a night of watching the waters rise.

The road to the suburb where Peter works was cut in more than one place, including a bridge, and the whole suburb is completely isolated. Pete got a text later in the day saying that work was closed until further notice.

The next morning, one of the roads to Hervey Bay reopened. On the one side the roads were only cut due to flash flooding from the heavy rain, and the road was now clear. After two sleeps at out house, Mayana’s friend could go home. What a memory those two will have of their first sleepover experience! After leaving him safely with his parents, we went to see what was happening.  Again we were shocked. The water had risen substantially since the afternoon before. In such a short time. The skies were mostly blue, and yet, before our very eyes, the water was continuing to rise.

In recent years the floods in our town have not affected very many homes, and have definitely not made their way into the CBD. This time, they said, would be worse. People were encouraged to evacuate their homes, and they were setting up huge barricades bolstered by sandbags in the CBD. There were trucks and cars and people everywhere, pulling whatever they could out of shops and stacking what they couldn’t higher. Lining doorways with plastic and sandbags. The water was lapping at the door of our Woolworths, and its entire basement carpark was full of water. This thing was getting real.

We made our way to my sister’s house. The water was nearly at the next door neighbour’s driveway. The water was half way up the street sign, on the same corner where yesterday was ankle-deep water. That house on the corner had water, well and truly into the house.  At that point the water was somewhere around 9meters. They were predicting 11meters, but there were mixed reports about when that would happen.. different sources varied between 3-11pm. People were very concerned because aside from the river’s own peak, we also have the problem of water making its way to us from upstream.. Gympie, Kenilworth… places that had also copped a beating and a drenching and were flooded from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

My sister and her husband decided they would spend the night at our house. The water would definitely make it to their driveway, but we were confident that it wouldn’t get to their house.

We went to check their house again in the afternoon, and it was much where we were expecting it to be. Into their neighbour’s driveway and on the way to theirs. We were again shocked by how far the water was up in town. Woolworths had a few feet of water in it now. Places where we had walked earlier that afternoon were now underwater. The barricade in town was still holding, but police tape was now stopping you from walking through the threatened streets like you had earlier that day. It was surreal, and scary.

We went home, had dinner, watched TV, listened to the ABC radio. It was starting to get frustrating. Brisbane was under threat and all of a sudden our section of the world had fallen off the map. We weren’t getting any updates on what was going on in our town, and it was hard to find information online. We were hearing that Bundaberg, which was already in a dire state, was expecting a total of 2000 homes to be inundated. They were rescuing people from the rooves of their homes.

At around 8 we heard an update that were were edging towards 10m. The barricades were still holding. More shops were evacuating. We were able to get a lot more information from various groups and organisations on Facebook, but there still wasn’t much concrete information. We went to bed. Pete and I decided to stay awake until 11pm, when they were meant to issue an update on the flood levels on the BOM site. When 11 clicked around, we were annoyed and disappointed to see that their ‘update’ was the information we had already heard on the radio at 8pm.

At around 2.30am Mayana woke us up needing the toilet. Since I was awake I flicked onto facebook. The waters were about 10.5m, and the levies had broken at 10.4m. Someone had taken moonlit photos of the town under water. It was unreal. Surreal. You know that saying, “my blood ran cold”? I totally experienced that in that moment. Flooding is such an abstract thing. You watch it on the TV and you think it’s so awful, it’s so hard to comprehend. I guess when you see your own streets and places that you were walking that very day, under water, it just gets real. We knew that if the water had got to that level in town there were going to be a lot of homes under water. I spent the next hour frantically face-stalking, trying to find as much information as I could, looking for photos. A heap of businesses were inundated. Eventually I managed to get back to sleep again. I felt so guilty that my biggest problem was that I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking of people on their rooves in Bundy. Of people in our own town, staying with friends or in the evacuation centre, wondering what they were going to find at their homes the next day.

In the morning Pete jumped on his bicycle to see what was happening. We all wanted to know what was happening at my sister’s house, and thought it might be safer to check out out by bike in case any roads weren’t passable by car. A reasonable chunk of the CBD was under, and like we thought the water was now up to my sister’s driveway but the house was still high and dry. The water was just under 10.6 at that point I think. It’s amazing what difference a few centimetres of water makes in a flood. Many places we had walked even the afternoon before were well and truly impassable now.  That house on the corner of Beth’s street… now the water was just under the top of the windows. A neighbour told us that the family had only moved in three weeks ago.

At that point the river was still rising, and they were still expecting a peak of 11m. This afternoon, after a painful day of the river rising so slowly but surely, they announced that it had peaked at 10.7m. The highest in nearly 60 years. 1955 still holds the record at 11.2m. In the afternoon they started to talk about the waters coming from Gympie. Because our waters were now steady, the pressure was off a little. They’re now saying that with the water coming from upstream, our water level will probably stay steady at around our peak mark for 36-48 hours. Then it will start to recede. If it’s anything like Gympie, this could be a slow process. Clean up might start on Friday, maybe Thursday in some parts of town. Peter can’t work until at least next week, and we’re hoping we can somehow be a part of the clean up.

Today was so strange. It was a beautiful day. Clear blue skies. Temperatures of 34 degrees or more. At our house, the postie came by, and the street cleaner came and scrubbed at the gutters like it does most Tuesday mornings. It was so quiet. We live on the road out to Hervey Bay, and there is usually cars and trucks en masse in the mornings. But today, it was silent. It was so weird. A kilometre or two up the road towards the Bay, a school has water through it. The local tip is compromised. A Maryborough suburb is stranded. Water stands in the way between us and the Bay.  In the other direction, Maryborough’s CBD is under water. And yet here we are, safe in our house. We have power, no water or threat of water. Today we drove around and saw houses that nearly had water to their rooves. Even when I’m seeing it with my own eyes, my brain is having trouble comprehending it.

Tonight I’ve seen pictures, on social media and on the news, of Bundaberg. What is happening there makes what is happening here seem almost trivial. Of course it’s not for some people – there are people here who have lost their homes too and for them this is just a nightmare. But we’re hearing numbers like 2000 homes inundated. Pictures of houses floating along main roads. Elderly mean and women and brand new babies being airlifted from the hospital which is no longer a safe place. I don’t know what to say about it. It terrifies me, and I feel so lucky but also kind of guilty that we are safe and the most we have to worry about is missing out on a few days pay because Pete can’t go to work.

This flooding thing. It’s a crazy adventure. One that I hope we don’t have to go through again any time soon. It brings out the best in people in lots of ways, and the Australian Spirit in times like these is something to be proud of. Anyone I talk to, any social media I read, people are already itching to help. Asking what they can do now, what they can do when the water goes down. It’s going to be a big job, this clean up. A big job here, and a bigger job in other places. But we’ll get it done, because we have to. And we know from seeing it happen two short years ago in places like Toowoomba and Grantham, and even right here in Maryborough, that our communities will pull together and come out of it stronger than before.

I hope you and your loved ones have been and remain safe in this wild weather.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Happy {fourth} birthday!

Last Friday, my baby girl.. that tiny little 5lbs 2oz baby… turned four years old!

I’ve said before that I’ve never really felt sad as Mayana has grown up; I’ve enjoyed every age, and loved watching her grow bigger and learn new things. While that is still true, this year I am feeling a little more nostalgic. I don’t know if it’s just the knowing that this is her last year at home.. her last year she’s *my* little one before she goes off to school and starts a different facet of life without me. I’ve never seriously considered home schooling before, but I’m beginning to understand its allure! (not that I’m seriously considering it now I don’t think… Mayana would be devastated, she is SO excited about starting school).

I have and do love watching Mayana grow up. I was looking at some of her baby photos today, and am struggling to reconcile that wrinkly teeny tiny baby girl with my big four year old, full of laughter and chatter, with a wicked sense of humour, wild imagination and infectious giggle. With her lanky long arms and legs, hair closer to her bottom than her shoulders, and just so many brains. Four is just so BIG!

I really do feel blessed to be that girl’s Mama. She is so sweet and funny, and has so much love. She challenges me… she is so clever and understands so much and I just so want to make sure that that part of her stretched and given a chance to develop. I just know she is capable of so many amazing things, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds for her.

Mayana’s fourth birthday was a lovely day. Peter was given the day off work, and Mayana was so excited to have her Papa home all day. With so much anticipation and counting down in the weeks leading up to the big day, we had expected to be woken at the crack of dawn, and were surprised when the clock rolled over past 7am, with still no sign of the birthday girl! In the end we had to wake HER up, with protests of, “I just need a little bit more sleep!” Have you ever heard of such a thing?

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Kami and Opa FaceTimed with us, and watched Mayana open her bazillion birthday presents in our bed, which included lots of jewellery, some nailpolish, a few books, a home-made dress and a puzzle. After presents, we went out to the dining room where Mayana was very excited to see the way I had decorated it for her…

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and even more excited when she walked around the corner and discovered just one more present…. a big girl BIKE!

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We had plans to meet friends at the pool at 8am, so we decided to postpone breakfast (though we fed Reuben of course) and get ready for our swim. Mayana wasn’t hungry yet, and the thought of going for a swim before breakfast was very appealing to her! We had a lovely morning at the pool with our friends, and when we came home Papa made pancakes for breakfast, as per the Birthday Girl’s request. We offered ice-cream to put on the top, but she refused, preferring butter and ‘make-up syrup’. Funny chook.

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Next on the agenda was morning tea out at a cafe with another friend. Mayana was wearing a ‘birthday girl’ badge, and when her morning tea came out, her babycino was pink, and her cupcake had a birthday candle in it!

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She thought that was very special. She also of course enjoyed having some time with her friend Hannah.

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When we got home we had to pack our bags because we had a big weekend ahead of us! We left for Noosa in the afternoon, where we had a special birthday dinner planned. Mayana had requested spaghetti, and Alexie had gone all out, making three kinds of pasta (bolognaise, carbonara and pesto), followed by a chocolate cake with vanilla icing (as requested by the birthday girl). Yum!

On Saturday the birthday celebrations continued. We had to make a trip to Brisbane, as the son of Mayana’s godparents was being baptised on Sunday. We decided to make a weekend of it, and hit Ikea (we needed a few things and it made sense to go when we already were headed that way), and then Southbank. We took Mayana on the Brisbane Wheel, to the Southbank Beach and to Max Brenner as part of her birthday fun.

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We had a lovely family day together, and it was topped off with dinner and a sleepover at her Godparent’s house.

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Next Saturday our celebrations will round off with a special celebration…. Mayana’s birthday party! She has asked to have a Mermaid party, and I have made an awesome costume for her (even if I do say so myself) and she’s hoping that all of her friends will dress up as either mermaids or sea creatures. I have been working hard on decorations and the sea-inspired menu… I’m really looking forward to it and hoping it doesn’t rain!!

In the meantime, I’m enjoying Birthday Week with my beautiful big four year old. The house is still decorated, and we’re trying to do something memorable every day.

I love you my Mayana Berry. I love you more every day and week and month and year. I love the little girl that you are and the person that you are becoming. You are my sweetest, funniest, loveliest girl, and I’m so thankful every day that I am blessed to be your Mama.

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Love you!!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Birthday Bunting {Free Printable}

As you may know, my gorgeous Mayana Berry turned FOUR on Friday!!

We/she had a wonderful day… and weekend… and there’s more to come with her Mermaid Birthday Party this coming Saturday. But more on all that later.

One of the things I did for Mayana’s birthday was to decorate the dining room beautifully for breakfast. I had a picture in my head which included ‘Happy Birthday’ bunting, but I couldn’t find any I liked online. So I did what any sensible person does late at night the day before her daughter’s fourth birthday, and made my own!

And since I had trouble hunting for a free printable birthday bunting, I thought that maybe someone else might be looking for one too, and thus, I’m posting it here for you to use too!

It’s fairly simple, not too big, but nice and colourful. It looks a little something like this:

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And it prints out like this…

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It’s pretty obvious, but all you need to do is cut out the pieces, fold down the flap and tape to a piece of string or ribbon (I used twine). I have two blank pieces (bunts?) on the printable, I put number ‘4’s in them, but you can put whatever you like, or just leave them off! If anyone is interested, the font I used is called ‘Irish Spaghetti’ and is my new favourite, you download it for free here.

You can DOWNLOAD THE BUNTING PRINTABLE by clicking this sentence.

And by the way, I did pull of the picture I had in my head. Mayana walked out of her bedroom to see this:

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Thursday, 17 January 2013

make your iphone pretty

I don’t know about you, but I like to accessorise. I’m the sort of person that gets a new wallet at least once a year, because I see something prettier. I’m the same with phone cases.

When we got our new phones, Peter went to eBay and got us a couple of clear cases for them. They were less than $10 for two of them! I have to give it to my husband… completely brilliant idea. A clear case means that I can essentially change my iPhone cover at a whim!

I can simply insert a photo or two, or some pretty scrapbooking paper… anything I want and I have a new cover for me phone, practically for free!

I’ve knocked together a couple on the computer with favourite quotes or scriptures, and I thought I’d share them here. I have made them for an iPhone 5, but have chosen not to put the camera cut-out on the template, so that you might be able to use them for an iPhone 4 if you need to.

So here are a few, and if I get some more together I’ll add them to this post! If you click on the pictures it will lead you to a jpeg download on my Google docs.. I believe they have saved in the correct size to print.. but let me know if you have any issues!

heartstrings iPhone printiphone floralThe Lorax Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve currently got the quote from ‘The Lorax’ in my cover. Love it! I like to have a quote that is uplifting or makes me smile… a cover on my phone is something that I see multiple times a day, so it’s can be a good reminder for me.

What quote would you like to have on your phone cover?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

ten weeks of Reuben

I’m sooo behind, but I’ve trawled through my photo stream and caught right back up… I seem to be missing some photos, especially from our beach holiday in December… but…. At least I’m back on track! Here goes, ten weeks of the Reubenator, beginning in November.

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Week 29

I have realised that I have many, many photos of Reuben eating. That’s because he eats a lot. This week, he tried his very first steak. He had lots of fun sucking the left over meat off Papa’s T-bone… his only complaint was that there wasn’t enough there!

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Week 30

We had some visitors this week, a whole bunch of family and friends came up for Mayana’s dance concert. Reuben reaped the benefits with lots of cuddles and kisses. He also discovered BLOCKS! Oh and I just adore the picture of Reuben in his sister’s red car. It should be captioned, “Driving Miss Maysi”.

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Week 31

This is a week of missing photos. One highlight of the week was when I took the kids on a steam train ride at market day. They both loved it, though Reuben was a little apprehensive of the very noisy whistle!!

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Week 32

We had a visit to Great-Poppy Goose this week, for his 70th birthday. We also met Reuben’s birthday twin, born a mere 3 hours before him!

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Week 33

Reuben’s hair is growing!!!

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Week 34

And we’re on holidays… a whole delightful week at Bargara. Another week of missing photos. Must find them.

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Week 35

More holiday snaps! The top right photo is my favourite of the two of us to date. Oh, and how wonderful is Reuben’s delightful new funny face, bottom centre. I LOVE it!

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Week 36

Reuben’s first Christmas! We had a wonderful day, and a wonderful week leading up to it. We hosted Christmas this year, and in all the busyness and fun of the day, we were all VERY remiss in taking photos, and I have next to no photos of my poor fella on his very first Christmas. It makes my heart hurt a little if I think about it too much.

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Week 37

We took a trip to Grandpa Ron & Grandma Suki’s farm for a second Christmas. Grandma made a full American style dinner, with turkey and all the trimmings. Reuben enjoyed the turkey and LOVED the Lemon Fluff. You couldn’t get it in his mouth fast enough!

That to-die-for photo of Reubs in the stripey orange t-shirt was his first of 2013. The little legend let us all sleep in until after 8am, despite having gone to bed very cranky at around 6pm the night before! Gotta love that!

I also have to point out  that bottom right photo. This is the cranky face that we get if we so much as think about putting food in our own mouths if his is empty. Not happy Jan!

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Week 38

This week we had visitors! Reuben’s buddy Max is two months and one day younger, and pretty much the same size. The two of them had a wonderful time together, and were sooooooooo cute! Also, NEWS FLASH!!! Reuben is now very proficient at pulling himself up to standing position. He is getting quite confident, and will try on anything that is still for long enough…

 

And there we have it! Ten weeks of Reuben, and I’m back up to date! Only fourteen more weeks in Reuben’s fist year. Insanity I tell you!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Another year’s over…

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Is it just me, or did 2012 seem to fly by?

And here we are… already a week into 2013. That’s the first time I’ve written that.

2012 was a good year for us. The year of Reuben. Our life changed again… Pete became the worker, I was back at home, and now with two kids instead of one! We moved house again. We became more involved in our church and cemented some really fantastic friendships in this town we live in. I feel happy with how 2012 has gone. We have grown and been stretched and overcome the difficult patches. I’m happy. We’re happy. We like where we live (despite the rough patch that got us here) and how we’re living, we love our friends and family, we adore our two kids and each other. Life is good.

I’ve been thinking about my goals for this year. My goals – our goals. It’s soooo clich├ęd to do New Year’s Resolutions, but I do like the beginning of a new year, and after all the hustle and bustle of the wind of of a year, it makes sense to reflect on how life has been and make some choices about how things could be different.

I think this year, I’m more going for some overall philosophies in my New Years ‘Resolutions’. Lifestyle changes… or even tweaks… that I hope will help send me and our family in the direction that we want to go.

I’ve noticed a growing trend for bloggers is to choose a ‘word’ for the year, that will be their focus… like maybe trust or choice or courage or expect. You know me though, I talk way too much and one word…. will it just wasn’t gonna cut it for me. I’ve decided to choose a scripture instead. You can’t get a more powerful word than one straight from the Word of God! So, my overall theme for 2013 is this:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord {Colossians 3:23}

I think that just about covers it. I can apply this scripture to any and every area of my life. It’s not an easy one, that’s for sure. It’s going to require lots of attitude checking, I can already tell. If I was doing my housewifely duties for the Lord, I probably wouldn’t be calling my husband a nasty-so-and-so under my breath for forgetting to take out the garbage again and leaving the lids off the vegemite and butter for the eleventy-billionth time that week. If I was parenting for the Lord, I would be speaking with a heck of a lot of love and patience and grace in my tone. So this is my ‘Word’ for the year… whatever I do, I will do with all my heart – no half-heartedness here folks! – and with an attitude that would be pleasing to the Lord. Thankfully God has grace in abundance, because I know I’m going to fail at this daily, but hopefully I will learn something along the way!

I’ve also been reflecting on five key areas of my/our lives that I would like for us to work on.

1. Spiritual

Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord {Deuteronomy 8:3}

A pretty important little sentence there – especially when you consider that Jesus himself quotes it over in Matthew when Satan is taunting him in the wilderness.

This year I want to devote myself to spending more time with God. Whether it’s reading the Bible, listening to teaching podcasts, reading books that teach me more about Him… I want to rekindle the fire, and build my relationship with Him.

2. Marriage

We will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this year! I love my husband very much, and love parenting and doing life with him. Life however seems to develop a busyness that can leave relationships by the wayside. We have days where we realise we’ve spent maybe ten minutes actually talking to each other… between Pete’s working, parenting, running the household and having some down-time, the days seem so full that we’re scratching to find space for quality time together. We need to do that, SO much. I would love for us to go back to our ‘date nights’ that we did for the first few years of our marriage, where we would have a date on the 10th of every month (we were married on the 10th). Nothing fancy – we were super-poor uni students back then and sometimes a date was just a picnic on the lounge room floor –but it was scheduled, quality one-on-one us time, and just what we’re needing right now.

On this topic, and I guess to also tie in with my first point, I’m reminded of this scripture:

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. {Ecclesiastes 4:12}

God is so much a part of our marriage. I don’t want to be at risk of leaving Him by the wayside either. Pete and I need to involve Him more in us.

3. Parenting

Of course this is a big one. My kids are my world. I see them as the ‘talents’ God has given me, and when it gets to the part where God looks at what I have done with what He has given me, I want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant!” When I think of parenting, the verse from Proverbs-

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it {Proverbs 22:6}

is often in the forefront of my mind. I want to show my kids how to love, and be patient and kind and gentle, show grace, and to be in relationship with God. I need daily to remember that

a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger
{Proverbs 15:1}

I need to remember that my children learn their cues and reactions from me. Scary though some days! I have so much to learn.

4. Health

I remember learning this scripture in my Sunday school days:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you…. Therefore honour God with your bodies. {1 Corinthians 6:19-20}

I’ve made (probably half-hearted) resolutions before about losing weight and getting fitter…This year, I just want to commit to being healthy. I want to learn the right things to put into my body, and eliminate things that are hurting me. I want to exercise, and build my fitness to make my body stronger and healthier. I want to be able to run around and play with my kids. If I can stick to this, losing weight and gaining fitness will be a bonus, but I don’t want to make that my goal and turn this into a dieting thing, I just want my body to be healthy, and I want to feel good and know that I’m looking after it.

5. Stewardship

I guess this is the one that is overarching all my previous four. We live such a blessed life… we are blessed with each other, with a beautiful home to live in, health, family, relationships, jobs, finances, possessions… I want to be a good steward of what I have been given. Again like in the parable of the talents that I quoted above – I want to be good and faithful with what God has given me. All of it.

Like I said, not so much resolutions this year as I guess a new philosophy. Maybe not even new, but this year it’s intentional. I want to learn this year, and grow as a person. I’m so excited about what this year holds!

Are you getting all reflective this New Year too?

Chores + Pocket Money {+ a free printable!}

Mayana is four in twelve days *sob*. She is getting to be such a big girl, and very capable. She’s a great helper, and makes my life easier in many ways. She is learning to help around the house, and is especially helpful in entertaining her baby brother when I need him distracted for a few minutes!

I really want to encourage Mayana in her attitude of helpfulness (she generally LOVES to help), and Peter and I have decided that we would like to reward her with some pocket money for the help she gives us.

The three of us had a chat about some jobs that she was already doing, and some jobs that she could learn to do, and decided on eight things that she can do daily to help out around the house. We talked to her about how it was important that everyone in our house has responsibilities to help make our lives run smoothly. Mayana know that if she helps me out with my chores in the mornings (ie washing up, sweeping the floor etc) then I have more time to play with her. She also knows that I shouldn’t have to be picking up her dirty underwear from the bathroom floor every night!

I’ve made a chart for Mayana, and each time she does one of her special jobs, she gets a stamp or a sticker. I actually plan on laminating this and sticking it on the fridge so that I don’t have to print one every week. Mayana has eight jobs she can do every day, plus I’ve given her an extra space for ‘Being an Awesome Helper’… so that I can reward her extra for things like looking after her brother, helping with grocery shopping… and okay… maybe I’ll be able to use it for a little bit of a bribe when necessary.

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The rest of the jobs are mostly things that she was doing already, and a few things that she just needs a bit of encouragement to remember. She doesn’t do all of these jobs independently – for example she’s only really in charge of unpacking the silverware from the dishwasher… not the whole thing. She hangs the nappy liners on the clothes airer while I do the rest of the laundry (about 6 pegs per liner, if you don’t mind) and at this point she’s only really clearing her own dinner dishes from the table.

At the end of the week, Mayana will get 10 cents for every job that she has done. I’m under no illusion that her chart will be full of stars every week, but if she ever manages that, she has the potential to earn up to $6.30 in a week. We’ve talked to her about tithing and giving to God, and she’s excited to think that she will have money each week to put in the offering bucket as it goes past at church. We’ve also discussed saving money, and she’s already eyeing off a few Lala-Loopsy things that she’s quite like to save up for!

I’m excited to see how she goes with this. It’s been motivating so far in her keeping a much better attitude when I ask her to do a job. She loves going to get a stamp when she’s done something, and is offering to do things before I’ve even asked her. I’m hoping that it will help to ingrain some of these things as habit. As she gets older, she will get chores that are more age-appropriate, and these simple things will become more of an expectation – the things that she knows her her responsibility for helping our house to run smoothly. I also like the idea that she can learn about the fact that we don’t just always get things because we like or ask for them, and that sometimes we need to work hard and save to buy things that we want and sometimes even need. There are lots of learning opportunities involved in this too… learning about money is so confusing, and exposing her to different units of our currency is going to be good. She was so disappointed today that her fifty cent coin was only half of one dollar, and that she had to give both of her ‘dollars’ to the lady when she bought her cookie cutter!

Anyway… I thought that someone else might find it useful to use a sticker chart like this. So you can download it for free as a PDF printable if you click HERE!

I have only changed one thing from the original one above… I know not everyone has chickens so I’ve changed that to ‘feed the pets’.

If you use the sticker chart, I’d love to hear how it worked for your little ones!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Dear Reuben {seven months}

letter to Reuben.. seven months. I just realised as I started to write his eight month letter that I hadn’t published this one! Oops!

Hey Little Mister!

IMG_0733IMG_2907Seven months already! We’re on the slippery slope to you leaving babyhood behind forever. It’s bittersweet… I’ll miss bubba-you, but every day you just get to be more fun!

You do so much now! You can sit up for hours on end – though you haven’t quite worked out how to get from lying down to sitting up just yet. You very intentionally can get yourself back to the lying position though – it’s essential for your newest trick… you my boy are on the move!! I wouldn’t call what you do crawling just at this point, but you’ve advanced beyond the army crawl and do this sort of caterpillar/floor-swimming thing. You're having great fun exploring the house, and so far have discovered the playroom (your sister is fast learning to pick up after herself, you have a penchant for putting things in your mouth!) and the garage.. we got you out of there quick-smart! You tried to follow Papa into the bathroom tonight, but got distracted when you found yourself under the dining room table. You occupied yourself under there for quite some time, until you somehow got yourself caught between the legs of some chairs and the foot of the table! In the last few days you’ve been starting to get your knees in on the action, and your speed has increased dramatically.

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You’ve also started to pull yourself up on things. If you can just plant those little feet of yours, and grasp something that’s steady enough, up you go. It’s hard work for you, but I guess it gives you a different perception of your world… but you just seem too little to be doing things like that!

Mind you, you are getting bigger. At your last weigh-in you were 6.6kg – though that was with your clothes on. You are small for your age, but so much bigger than your sister was… you actually have meat on your bones, and your thighs have rolls! You are even starting to get into some 00 clothes. I’m fairly sure Mayana didn’t get into that size until she was nearly one!!

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It’s no wonder that you’re turning into a fatty-boom though, the way you pack your food away. I foresee big grocery bills in my future! At seven months old Mr Reuben, you are eating two wheetbix for breakfast… that’s the same amount as Mama! Plus, you still cry for your pieces of toast or cruskit afterwards too! You’ve started eating meat these days, but you still don’t like your food too lumpy. I’m not sure if it’s linked to your refluxy issues but you seem to have a super-sensitive gag reflex. That’s all well and good but because of your refluxy issues, a gag generally equates to a puke…. and we’re over puke in this house, so purees for you for a little while longer I think! Mind you, you do enjoy sandwiches and cruskits with vegemite on them, so you are having a go at a few more ‘solid’ foods. These days you have a breastfeed in the morning, wheetbix and toast for breakfast, a bottle for morning tea, fruit or vegies for lunch, a bottle for afternoon tea, vegies, rice and meat for dinner and usually a breastfeed, sometimes a bottle, and sometimes you want nothing (!) before bed. You are content, and you are growing, and that’s what matters.

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You love to be tickled, and it’s the one thing that will always make you laugh. Sometimes you do this squealy crocodile noise before you get the giggles, and everyone thinks it’s so funny. You also do this hilarious growly voice, that sounds a little like a Batman voice. Oh and you can pull off a pretty good Chewbacca too! You still love to blow raspberries, and are almost always covered in drool (which is better than puke!) Your newest ‘word’ is Mama!! I think you are actually associating it to me now. Whenever I come and get you out of your casrseat you grin at me and say ‘Mama Mama Mama’. You also yell it at me when I’m taking too long to get one or another of your meals ready!

You are also starting to laugh at things people do… like if they talk to you in a funny voice, or play peek-a-boo with you. Your laugh is just so cute Reubs, I never tire of it! You have quite a big voice compared to your sister, and are very good at getting people’s attention.

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We’ve been picking Papa up from work lately, because he broke his bike, and when we get there you scan the room until you spot him and then yell out at him until he comes and takes you. You love your Papa, he can always make you happy. I think Mayana is still your favourite though. You are mesmerised by her… and is she is in your sight you are smiling. She loves to cuddle you and tries to pick you up… but considering you are probably more than half her weight she struggles with this! She loves to make you laugh by blowing raspberries or roaring at you. Her roaring used to make you cry but now you think it is just hilarious! You kick your legs and squeal and laugh in delight – even if seconds ago you were mid scream with tears dripping down your cheeks.

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Your sleeping is going well. I always feel it is such a risk writing about this because whenever I do something changes. But at this point in time you are having two good, solid day naps, and sleeping through the night from 7pm-6.30am (ish… sometimes earlier sometimes later). Now if only we could get your sister to figure out how to go to the toilet by herself through the night, Mama and Papa might be able to sleep through the night too!

You’re much more interested in toys now, and Mayana is learning that she needs to share with you. You particularly like her wooden blocks and her duplo.

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I’m glad that she’s mostly got toys that can be played with by both of you, although she does have some special things that are just for her. She is mostly patient with you, and knows that if she can give you something to put in your mouth you’ll leave her alone for the most part. You’ve even discovered the ipad! We have a baby app, and when you touch the screen coloured shapes come up and sing and talk to you. You think it’s great fun, and it’s a good way for me to distract you if you are having a moment.

You’re growing up fast my boy, and I love these baby months with you.

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Love you darling,

Mama.

 

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