Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Happily Ever After

The last few weeks have been rich weeks, time blessed with lots of love and family. 
Three weeks ago our niece Anna was married to Bryce

PC and I were blessed to attend and had the opportunity to enjoy 

time together, just us and our baby. 

Photo Credit: Jessica Kneipp

This weekend we gathered together once again as our niece Sam married Luke

Photo Credit: Mark

Oh my what a location! and truly the Groom's speech ranks up there as one of the most heartfelt and love filled I've ever heard.

PC's siblings all together with his mum, a special occasion indeed:)  

Photo Credit: Mark
My sisters-in-law, our m-i-l and our niece.
Special times indeed and the weddings have only begun with many younger nieces and nephews weddings still to celebrate

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Children Still Climb Trees...

On Monday afternoon I sent the children outside to play.
"Go outside and play, you've been inside too long" an hour later, as I was about to call them in to get ready for swimming lessons I heard screaming. They were playing near the shipping containers up next to the cattle yards, I took of running to find...a child running towards me calling, another clinging up a tree very high and our ten year old daughter Jelly Bean, on the ground next to the fence crying in pain and her arm looking suspiciously ....odd.
"My arm's broken Mum, I want to go to the hospital!"

She had fallen from over 4.5 metres, onto the cattle yard fence, fortunately she denuded the tree of most of its branches as she hurtled down.  I say fortunate as although this later accounted for many scrapes and bruises the branches also did break her fall some what before she landed with a crash upon the fence. In hindsight the children all admit that a silky oak is not a safe tree with reliable branches, and it won't be on their future climbing plans. 

Logistics were undertaken, JB was bundled into the car, her brother in the tree was rescued via a ladder, Daddy was rung and set to meet us at the hospital and we were off.  

Perhaps it was the sight of us carrying a bleeding ten year old into the hospital, perhaps it was my immediate explanation, "She fell out of a tree from 4 to 5 metres high" but we have never been whisked so fast into Accident and Emergency before.  They undertook a complete trauma check on her; spine, neck, chest, pelvis, legs and arm, several times over the next few hours and into the next day. They also constantly monitored her and we were sent for a thorough x-ray.  Very, very fortunate the only damage she sustained was to her arm,  even my untrained eye immediately knew looking at the x-ray that her arm was broken and I just knew it was going to need surgery.

After a few hours we were finally transferred up to Children's Ward where PC and I tagged teamed staying with Jelly Bean at the hospital for the next couple of days. As Bella still feeds through the night PC took the night shifts as well as parts of the days.  Children's Ward was busy this week with six children in residence. 

One of JB's wishes was that her siblings would come and visit her in hospital, she was requesting this even when still in Accident and Emergency. Hospital visiting was all a new experience for us as JB is only our second child to have an overnight stay in hospital and our first to have surgery, well except for Carpenter's wrist surgery pre-Christmas, though he was far away in the City without us, quite traumatic. 

The hospital staff were wonderful and the orthopedic surgeon was fantastic. Unfortunately due to the operating schedule it wasn't until 3pm the following afternoon that JB was wheeled in for her surgery. JB's biggest fear of surgery was that she might awake mid-op, the nurses, surgeon and anesthetist were most patient in reassuring her that it wouldn't happen. Still she was nervous. 

The surgery was successful and the surgeon was extremely happy with his handiwork, the plate and screws lined the bone up nicely.  The surgeon was rather young and when he invited me to look at the x-rays, he rather made me smile, he was quite chuffed with his handiwork, but then he had every right to be proud.  Generally surgery to repair a ten year old's humus bone is not necessary but due to the break in this case it was decided it was, as it transpired, it was the correct decision as when they went in it was discovered that her radial nerve was stretched over the ragged edges of the bones.

Much happier once the surgery was over, though she was quite groggy for a while after, lightheaded and still in considerable pain. Finally though two days after the traumatic event, we were released and able to come home, which by this stage made JB quite happy. She won't be able to play soccer this season which will be quite a blow to her as it sinks in.

The children assure me that they haven't given up tree climbing but they certainly won't be climbing any more silky oaks, they shall be more selective in their tree choices. I'm insisting that the height they climb should be taken into consideration too!
The chief registrar said to us twice, "She is very, very lucky to have not sustained any other injuries falling from such a height but...it's good to see children still climbing trees and not inside on a computer".

Friday, 20 March 2015

Blog Tour: Gentle and Creative

Want to climb aboard with me as we embark upon another blog tour?
Last week we toured Aussie Farms and didn't we view some lovely, eye catching blogs:)
Join me today as we spread the blog love and visit with some ladies who personify gentleness and creativity.

Karen at Pieces of Contentment is a dear friend and also a distant cousin, Karen lives locally and we have been friends for nearly seventeen years. A friendship with somebody as special, gentle and wise as Karen has an impact and she has modeled and taught me much over the years.  In some ways we appear similar we both; have a strong Faith in Our Lord, are mothers of large families, Karen has eight blessings, we homeschool and more recently we've shared a love of blogging and photography. Yet in many ways we also differ, Karen is so naturally creative and I stand in awe, her gentleness and creativity just shine through her blog.  Do visit, you won't be disappointed. 

Ginny at Small Things lives in Virginia, America with her husband and seven children. They live in a tiny house with seven children which has it's challenges, I know, we also lived in a tiny house with seven children. Ginny is a fellow Catholic and she also homeschools. Their home is on acreage and they spend much time outdoors exploring, gardening and enjoying animal husbandry. Ginny is very creative and is passionate about knitting.  I am particularly drawn to Ginny's photography and words, she sees beauty amidst the ordinary mess of life. 

Arianne at Still Parenting lives in America with her husband and five children, she has a strong belief in Our Lord and homeschools. Arianne is of course creatively talented in numerous mediums and has the ability to see the 'stillness' in the everyday busyness of life with children. Her words, her photos reflect this and in turn inspire me to see the beauty in the everyday.  

Lydia at Small Town Simplicity lives with her husband in Michigan with their six children and they are expecting their seventh. She is is a Christian and a second generation homeschooler who is educating her own children. Lydia has various creative talents, she loves to knit, all these knitting blogs I must admit I can't knit, and like myself she is just beginning to stretch herself with photography. Lydia is also very creative with words and I love her Mindful Mothering Mondays, ther are always so profound.  

Four gentle, creative ladies do drop in for a visit.
Have any other Gentle, Creative blogs to share?

This Week in Learning: March 20th, 2015

Maintaining a regular record of our learning continues to elude me.  Sharing the highlights of the past three weeks albeit a rather patchy recording:

  • Jem has powered through the first book of AAR Level 1, however I currently have him revising all the word cards he has covered thus far.  I tend to skip the revision but now can see how important regular revision is. 
  • Whilst Jack Jack is faithfully reading Hey Jack and Zac Powers, he hasn't get 'exploded with enthusiasm' and taken up reading on his own
  • When I noted to Jelly Bean she hadn't been reading for a while she explained she had 'nothing to read', really in our house?! However a library visit rectified the problem and she came home with a bundle of books and has been enthusiastically reading since.
  • The older two children are always reading, though currently I would deem their reads more on the 'fluff' side.  It's a stage I know but one I need to be certain they don't visit for too long. 
Audio Books
  • Audio books are all the rage at the moment, different listeners enjoying different sets; Winnie The Pooh, Famous Five, Deltora Quest and HIVE
  • Currently using lists with most of the children and very happy with where they are at. Showing excellent promise
  • Using AAS with Michelangelo and seeing results:)
  • Continue to see the advantages of dictation which I am undertaking with the two oldest children. Sometimes you can wonder, "Is dictation worth it?" Seeing the results of maintaining dictation for years I can only say a resounding, "Yes!" 
  • Constantly trying to correct Jack Jack's ds and bs, he avoids writing them correctly.  Jem informed me today that, "Mum everybody has different ways of writing!" Um no, no go. JJ does however have lovely handwriting as do all our middle and younger children. It was just our four oldest who struggle in this area, I often wonder why, was it them, was it me..??
  • A comprehension lesson with Jelly Bean on 'Jason and the Golden Fleece' sparked a rabbit trail. JB wanted to know if he did recapture his city and depose of his uncle, so off we went reading about Greek mythology. I just love those moments in education, they don't happen often but when they do... this is what it's all about:)
  • Really, really happy with the old school texts I'm using with JB and JJ. Such a wonderful mix of grammar and writing.  They are learning so much and finding the study of grammar and writing interesting.  Some days they combine together and use just on book, it's not about finishing the book but about learning the subject matter. 
  • Still struggling with my logistics in having a set lesson for writing with the older children, though have improved in some areas of logistics. 

  • Steady progress, everyone humming along nicely.  Putting in the effort and understanding well. 
  • Our local homeschool group is currently in the midst of a science workshop.  We have hired a highschool science tutor for the older children, he is covering mostly physics and chemistry with them.  The younger children are also concentrating on physics with a mix of theory and hands on activities run by the parents. 
  • Princess continuing with her Extreme Weather studies
  • Michelangelo watching youtubes on Space and Nova
  • Younger children watching National Geographic DVDs
  •  Various mega maps and smaller maps being traced and locations are marked by each child. Some are working on Australia, another on North America and another on Ireland.
  • Splurged on A Child's Introduction to the World: Geography, Cultures and People, happy thus far.  The 'litmus test' is always, 'is there any misinformation about Australia?' you'd be surprised at what misinformation Americans have about Australia, then maybe you wouldn't') All Aussie information is nearly accurate, only one mis-information, though as usual the book is American-centric with multiple pages on the USA in comparison to a double spread on other continents. 
  • Reading John of the Sirius to the younger children, the fictional story of a marine's son who came to Australia on the First Fleet. Totally based on real happenings and truly one of the most popular books in our library.  The children are begging me to "read more"! Love it, special memories:)
  • Princess is devoting hours and hours of research to World War 1, really digging deep. Part of the success is I prepared set answers for her to search for.
  • Michelangelo completed Song of the Scaffold and researching the French Revolution.  I'm needing to compile some research and essay questions for him too.  Years ago Anna Maria studied the FV so I'm just needing to polish up the questions I wrote back then.
Picture Books
Electrical Wizard How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World - Elizabeth Rusch - Brilliant!!
Queeen Victoria's Underpants - Jackie French & Bruce Whatley - Very interesting
Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBratney - Sweet
The Chicken Thief- Beatrice Rodriguez - Well done, though it is a wordless book (which aren't really my 'thing')
Puffling - Margaret Wild - Good
Clancy & Millie & the Very Fine House - Libby Gleeson - So so
Two Little Bugs - Mark & Rowan Sommerset - Lame
The Little Eskimo - Davide Cali - Odd
Rose Meets Mr Wintergarden - Bob Graham - Nothing exciting

Thursday, 19 March 2015


A portrait of our children, once a week, every week in 2015

This week I decided joining instagram was a must.  However my phone camera is a sad, sad item, think pixel horror, however a little research informed me that I could join via my computer, just a couple more steps were involved.  I was happier with that as I'd prefer to use my regular camera rather than a phone camera, happily I downloaded bluestacks, but ran into a problem when it appeared my ip address was considered a proxy.  Confused? so was I;) 'Long and short' was I reluctantly gave up my instagram idea but... my darling husband meanwhile went and purchased me a new phone with a much better camera, what a sweetheart!!  So stay tuned for an instagram link when I'm up and rolling.

This week I've been working on mastering metering and histograms, don't I sound knowledgeable;) I suspect I'm only understanding a fraction of what I'm meant to, though my eye is slowly seeing the differences. 

 I have lots of willing 'subjects' and I fell in love with this photo of Jem

Bella's cuteness generally overshadows any imperfections in my photography, just love her little boots, she's the tenth child to wear them:)

Autumn here and the weather's still lovely, action shots are tricky

Bass just loves splashing about at the local Pool in town, though the background is too dark I can't believe I captured water droplets!:) 

Our Princess, beautiful as always, I obviously have more to learn regards light.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Blog Tour: Aussie Farms

Want to climb aboard with me as I take you on a blog tour? Are you keen to find new blogs?
Jump on and join me as we spread the blog love, today we're touring Aussie farms.
Chantille Fleur

Sarah from Chantille Fleur lives in North Queensland and blogs about life on an organic farm and taking pleasure in the simple; farming organically, baking bread, grinding spelt grains, using rapadura (attention caught:) and sharing her gorgeous photos.  I've only been reading Chantille Fleur for a short time but am very drawn to her dreamy pics, to her pace of life.

Coal Valley View

Mel at Coal Valley View lives on a strawberry farm in the Coal River Valley of Tasmania with her husband and five young children and she is simply delightful, really! Just love reading Mel's thoughts, family happenings, farming projects, handcrafts and seeing her gorgeous photography. Her blog is a must read.

Country Life Experiment

Jo at Country Life Experiment farms on the South Coast of New South Wales, with her husband and three children on his family's farm.  Jo chats about country living, farm life, gardening, organisation and shares her terrific photos. I love it when Jo shares organisation tips and glimpses of family life in the country.

Foxs Lane

Kate at Foxs Lane farms in country Victoria, with her husband and three girls on their apple orchard. Kate blogs about enjoying the simple pleasures of life, savouring the everyday as she organically farms, bakes and delves into handcrafts.  She shows me how photography can tell a story, I just love her creativity.

The Shady Baker

Jane at The Shady Baker farms in Outback New South Wales with her husband and two children. She chats about outback living, her thoughts, baking bread, including sourdough, cooking, growing veggies, teaching her children via distance education and she takes fascinating photos.

Five lovely, interesting ladies, do pop on over and visit.
Have any Aussie Farm must read blogs to share?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Autumn Days

A portrait of our children, once a week, every week in 2015

Last year I had every intention to take photos of our darlings daily, even weekly, I even committed to a weekly photo link up. Like many good intentions I managed a little, in fits and starts. Part of my struggle is online security, I worry about over sharing.  So then I do a circle and try to commit to just being private and not posting, but this meant I take even less photos, I'm a person who works best with deadlines. So back to sharing here.

In a desire to improve my photography skills I signed up last year for an online photography course with Please Don't Say Cheese and I'm learning so much, particularly now as I'm delving deeper into the lessons. I'm now chatting about metering, aperture, iso, shutter speed and depth of field.  Don't I sound knowledgeable?;-) Well I sound smarter than I really am, but I'm slowly 'clicking' (pun intended) as the lessons are very well explained and really the most important detail is to put the information to use and practise, practise, practise. I'm also muttering about how my compact camera is limiting and won't let me do what I want, but by the same token I'm discovering it can do much more than I realised.
I'm on a deadline to complete the course by April, so be prepared for a deluge of children cuteness. If  pics of my children are not interesting for you, and I get that it may not be, I really do, click away and come on back later.

Last week we attended our niece's wedding, and enjoyed a few days away together, just PC and I and our baby. The reception was held at a beautiful venue, the Golf Club of Mollymook on the South Coast, overlooking the ocean. 

Ah two sisters, Princess and Bella, a rare moment of stillness. Such a busy girl.

Action in motion, trampoline stunts a part of everyday life

and a great way to burn off energy. 

Monday, 9 March 2015

Bathroom and Ensuite Completed!!

Our bathroom is completed!:):)  So very, very happy with how it looks:):)
Just love our bath, reminds me of a gravy boat:)
There are a few finishing touches needed but the majority of work is done. 

Ah and the shower, you may just drool a little, I do;)  
It is semi-frameless, a huge search to find what we wanted. 
Our towel holders were an epic search, PC was determined to find a hook that would spread the towels to dry but we couldn't find anything for a bathroom that showers potentially 6-10 people. Can you guess their 'former life'?
Yep wire fruit bowls, they suit the decor and meet all his requirements.  

Final look as you exit, to see how all flows. 
Eventually there will be a basin installed to the left of the door, there is already a mirror awaiting.

The 'hub' and center of all, lots of action occurring here. The powder room to the left, toilet straight through and main bathroom to the right.

Ah powder room how I love thee!!  Really every large family should have one.  The powder room receives so much use and eases up congestion in the bathroom.  Over the holidays we had fourteen people in the house one weekend, one morning we were all getting ready for an 8am Mass, young ladies, young gents, bigs and smalls and we made it out the door in a timely manner.  
Yep I love thee:):)  It makes me smile to walk past and see my big boys and girls fixing their hair, little boys brushing teeth, camera moments. 

We 'ran into a snag' with the powder room, we had ordered semi-recessed basins and blithely thought it would be a matter of choosing a top and we'd be 'good to go'. Um no. When we hit the hardware store and discovered a marble bench would be thousands of dollars, and we needed four, we 'had a moment'! We then decided to 'think out of the box' and choose a kitchen benchtop, laminated compressed chipboard, far more affordable. 
PC was able to cut one piece in half as they the boards were so deep, and then began the 'nerve wracking' moment, PC began to cut out the basin shapes. Princess coated the boards liberally with wet area coating for protection and we decided if we have to replace later it's still cheaper than the marble. 

Oh you want to see the toilet? Well standard issue but my these babies can cost a fortune, most start around $700! (I didn't spend that much) Most likely where the name 'throne' originated I suppose.

Our ensuite, and how I love thee! Every day I feel as if I'm swanning in motel luxury. 
I kept with the same choices as the main bathroom, I 'like what I like'. 

On the left you'll note another basin bench and above PC built a built in cupboard with 4 shelves in total.  He plans to build a frame to hang a 2 walled mirror on, it will swing on hinges and cover the cupboard.

I'm very very spoilt I know with three bathroom/ensuites and a powder room, though discovering it all takes a bit of work to keep them all looking clean. Oh well first world problems;)

A huge, huge THANK YOU to my TALENTED husband, who undertook and 'pulled off' this massive project!!