Friday, October 30, 2009

High Expectations or Great Expectations?

I have all these expectations of myself.

I want to be the super Mum, the brilliant cook, the sexy wife, the inspiring educator, the awesome writer, the fantastic gardener. I don't want to be an adequate mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, homemaker, writer etc. I want to be INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, AWE INSPIRING.

Surely this is not too much to ask?

So I start the day with my high expectations. TODAY I will get the house spotless, I will impart great wisdom and knowledge, I will cook yummy meals, I will discipline and get my kids to behave, I WILL.

Except I don't.

I don't meet these high expectations of myself.

There are those who will say that I am expecting too much. That it is more than one woman can ever do. That I need to reduce my expectations, relax, have a little "me" time and make my husband take up some of the slack.

There is something about that advice that sits wrong with me, like a curry reheated one too many times.

Surely I can be brilliant, fantastic, awesome, AMAZING?!

I feel like I kinda am deep down inside. After all, deep down inside I am a princess, daughter of a Royal Heritage that goes back to Eden and Beyond. I am the recipient of The Gift. If I lack the potential to be something awe inspiring, if I do not have the potential to have the Glory of God Himself flow through my fingertips, why on earth was the sacrifice made for me? God loves me and He wants to make me something Amazing. No, not make something Amazing FOR me. He wants to make ME something AMAZING.

So kicking back, passing the buck and settling for mediocre?

It doesn't sit right.

So I am trading up.

I am swapping my High Expectations for GREAT Expectations.

I expect that today I will:

Worship. With my family and on my own. From my heart here in my home I will sing Glory, Glory, Glory to the Lord God Almighty Who Is and Was and Is To Come. And my voice will meld with that of the Angels in the Throne Room.

Love. With my whole heart, with no safety net, free fall style I will love those who God has put in my way to love. This is my Heritage because I am a daughter of one Who Is Love.

Serve. I will wrap the towel around my waist as Christ did at the Last Supper. I will make a home for my husband that is as comfortable and relaxing as I can possibly make it today. I will feed my children the best food I can put together to help their bodies grow strong and I will discipline them to make their hearts grow strong. I will do the dirty work of home maker with the heart of a servant, with a view to becoming more like THE Servant.

Rejoice. I will rejoice in the Lord Always and again, I will REJOICE. I will find joy in each day and will Bless the Lord because of it. I will laugh. I will sing. I will smile. I will rejoice.

And somehow, all this looks so much more achievable.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

being my own girlfriend.

At the risk of sounding a little pathetic, I am not terrably GOOD at making friends. I am not a people person, my small talk limit is about 15 minutes before I start looking for the nearest sharp implement with which to stab my own hand and a few friendship *disasters* in the last decade or so has left me a little gun shy when it comes to close girlfriends.

Add to that the fact that I am a part of a small group of people who have masses of children, very close together, support home birth, homeschool my kids, live in the mountains, renovate, talk about Jesus like He is an actual real PERSON (freaks out some church goers for some reason) don't have my license (at least in part so I have a good excuse NOT to have coffee with 'the girls') - not to mention my other habits, customs and beliefs that kinda freak people out.

Don't get me wrong, I DO have friends. I have a friend who has stuck it out with me for over ten years now - she lives in NSW and although we haven't seeen each other for about eight years we natter often on the phone. Another friend who is in Melbourne who is my "ring when one of the children has a brush with death and I'm a total mess" friend. A dairy farmer, also a resident of Victoria, is my "tell me bluntly when I have it wrong and need to make some changes" friend and his friendship I probably value most of all. And there are many acquantainces who I will stop and chat with and family and like minded people.

But recently, I have been thinking. What I would love to have is a girlfriend who lived near me, or at least in the same state, whose children were just a touch older than mine. Someone who I could ring and pick her brain about where to go next or how to handle a certain situation. Someone who WOULDN'T tell me not to have such "high expectations" ('cause expecting to get dressed before midday is TOTALLY unreasonable!) or to cut myself some slack. A friend who had faith in me that I could do this wife/Mum thing and do it spactacularly. A friend with some practical knowledge to help me out. A friend who encouraged and exhorted me, cheering me on to bigger and better things. A friend who prays with and for me. A friend who encourages me to be the best I can be in all things to HIS glory. A friend who is humble enough to let me be their friend too. A friend who can be a "Belly Buddy" sharing the amazing journey of pregnancy and birth together. A friend who I can confess our latest toilet training disaster to and she'll have one to share with me too.

But there is the whole "social ineptitude" problem and the fact that I am the only pre-menopausal woman at my church. I'm not ruling out miracles here, but honestly the odds don't look to great in reguard to me getting what I want here!

So I am going to try being my own girlfriend for a while. I am going to sit and have a cuppa with myself and pick my own brain. Take a moment to dust off all those ideas and inspirations I have tucked away in there from various blogs and books and advise myself just as I would a girlfriend. I will pray with and for myself. I will research things to help myself out. And one day, if I come accross a brave woman who is willing to stick it out through the rather abrasive and crazy exteriour of me and make it to the creamy centre of fantastic-ness that is me, I will know how to be a good friend to her. Because I will have practiced on myself.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anna discovers raspberries

The wet, loud kind.

At this age, it's adorable.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The imaginary life of Erin....

Enter if you dare.

This afternoon Erin was overheard muttering:

OK then. Tomorrow is my wedding day. Yesterday I got the flowers and I slept at the hotel. Today I am organising the food. I need a husband. Where will I get a husband? I know, I'll marry the cat. Come here cat, YOU are going to be my husband.

I don't know about the cat, but I'm scared!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Where have I gone?

There is sunshine. The first two weeks of sunshine I have seen in, oh, three months at least! Until I get a lap top to take out there with me, I will be a bit scarce on here I'm afraid!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


we are home and have hit the ground running.

has been adjusting to not having the constant social stimulation that she did while we were away. Learning to treat brothers as well as she treated the friends we visited has been - challenging! But she is rising to the challenge beautifully. We got her newest set of readers today which is very exctiting.

has grown another foot taller I'm sure in the time we've been away. He is still recovering from the trip and the last two nights in a row he has fallen asleep on a bed before tea (granted, tea was a little late!). Climbing the trees in the backyard is the new daily challenge and he does get very high, only occassionally getting stuck or falling out!

is pretty much ready for a big boy bed but I am putting off the transition until we get the boy's room finished because if I moved him now I would have to stop using the top bunk for storing all the kid's clothes. Christopher's language is just taking off with whole sentences now. He has just started saying "no THANKYOU" instead of just "no" which is much better!

is crawling and has 3.3 teeth! She is still my tiny dot but is a true pocket rocket not stopping for much. We found during our holiday she isn't that much of a people person preferring to smile from a distance rather than be passed around. I can't say I blame her myself! I've also decided that we need a little valve so that we have the option of lactating through our fingertips during long car rides. Bubba getting hungry and grumpy 20 minutes from the end of a 5 hour car ride on the toll way isn't that fun for anyone!

The house:
looks pretty good. I've decided that going away for a fortnight means that nobody messes up the house so it is a good move for housekeeping! I have also come back with a refreshed outlook and sense of perspective. I have decided that beating myself up for not doing EVERYTHING means that I am too bruised to do anything the next day! I read an entry on one of my all time favourite blogs (Se7en, pop over and take a look! It's worth it) while I was away. While she was specifically talking about life with a newborn, I found that much of it applied to me - particularly KEEPING ON TRACK. I have come home with a renewed focus on doing three things WELL rather than trying to do thirty things and failing at all of them. Something I used to know but forgot! Fine weather to dry the washing doesn't hurt either!

The Garden:
is in full spring mode with massive digging, cutting, mulching, chopping, preparing of beds. I am LOVING 5 days of NO RAIN. I think this is the longest we have gone without rain for months.


Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Monday, October 12, 2009

Erin's Wedding Plans

Erin: Mummy, what kind of dress will I have when I grow up and get a husband?

Me: Any dress you want honey. It will probably be a good idea to have sleeves or straps so that you aren't spending all day pulling it up like Aunty Jen had to! But whatever dress you want I will get you as long as it isn't too expensive.

Erin: Well, I think I want a dress worth SIX DOLLARS. Mummy, what kind of dress costs six dollars?

Oh I SO have to remember this for when she is planning her wedding

Sunday, October 11, 2009

still hollidaying

Our dear friends who I count as my honorary brother got married yesterday and Beloved looked VERY handsome and best manly as he stood up there beside Andrew. Beloved also gave a wonderful speech. In spite of my intense dislike of all things "foofy" and the fact that making small talk generally causes me intense discomfort and irritation (weddings are not my thing!) I LOVED seeing my honorary brother get hitched to a perfectly wonderful girl.

Andrew has been my friend for more years than either of us actually admit and he is one of my all time favourite people. Second only to my hubby and kids and to be mentioned in the same breath as them makes him pretty special. He is also a dairy farmer and has promised Billy an apprenticeship when Billy turns 15!

I had the opportunity to read a poem at the reception:

You're married, you're hitched! Hip hip horray!
It's about time is all that I'll say.
Take her home, change the ear-tag, get 'er in calf
bring her home to Tassie and we'll all have a laugh.

In my defense, I did make that up in about two minutes!

We are all rather exhausted today after the hectic lead up to the wedding etc. so we are putting our feet up for a bit. We head home at the end of the week!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Guess what we did last night?

we went on a great big BOAT!

Yes, we are officially on holidays. After adventures like eating dinner and sleeping all night on the Spirit of Tasmania 1 we arrived in Melbourne bright and early this morning. We saw FIVE hot air balloons floating over the city and it was all quite peaceful - until everyone else woke up and the two carsick prone kids suffered the inevitable side effect of stop-start city driving! Overall, it has been wonderful so far with the kids behaving beautifully on the boat, even with all of us squished into a four berth cabin (Billy and Erin top-n-tailed and Anna went in the tiny port-a-cot they provide). We are staying with friends today and I am taking advantage of their computer and kitchen (they have a PANTRY, a GAS STOVE and CUPBOARD DOORS!!).

Tomorrow we are off to the ZOO!!

Mythbuster Monday

It's been a while for the ol' mythbuster monday, but I thought I would tackle another one just for fun.

Myth: When people say "You can't possibly school a child when you have so many little ones underfoot." they are talking about me.

Somehow, people thought it would be FINE for me to school 28 of someone ELSES children but four of mine at once? Forget it!

It often comes in gentler phrasing: "I don't understand how you can keep up with the housework, take care of your babies AND find time to school Erin!" etc. but essentially they are voicing doubt at my ability to school while mothering.

Yes, lots of little ones is hard work, keeping house is hard work and schooling Erin could be seen as JUST more work, but when did "work" become evil? What would their attitude be if I put my little ones in child care, dropped Erin of at before-school care and then went to work teaching a class full of other people's children, dealt with the staff issues, parent-teacher concerns, extra curricular activities etc. then picked up my own kids from care and went home? Few would even mention how hard I worked. Why is working at home, doing what I choose so different?

There is a tendency I notice among people to believe every gripe that comes out of my mouth but to pass off any profession of happiness or joy as me "putting on a brave face". The opposite is true. It is much safer to minimise my gripes, because it is quite likely that I am tired, hormonal or just had a bit of a bad day. Talking about the good stuff ALWAYS comes right from my soul.

What I do is hard work, but there is a difference between hard work and hard labour.

I am always tempted to point out that Erin reads better than most seven year olds, is ahead in maths, science, geography and pretty much every other subject. On my REALLY cranky days I am tempted to suggest that if their five year old can count by twos in Spanish, they can feel free to criticise the educational opportunities I am giving my children.

BUT, this is not the point, and besides, I doubt all my children will be academically gifted.

And now we come to the myth behind the myth.

The reasons we chose to homeschool are many and varied, but 98% of people who ask about/comment on our choice ARE NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN OUR REASONS OR OUR SUCCESS OR FAILURE.

Most people are interested in JUSTIFYING their choice NOT to homeschool.

Whatever anyone says, they will be determined to provide reasons why it simply couldn't work for them - and sometimes reasons why it simply shouldn't work for me.

Truth is, in all the reasons we chose to homeschool, "in order to make other people feel guilty about their choices" wasn't one of them.

So now I don't get defensive, I just laugh and say "Oh finding time to teach is EASY, time for housework, that's a challenge!"

Because I have busted the myth and I know that when people say things like that, they are talking about themselves.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Conversations with Billy

Billy: Has Jesus put another baby in your Tummy yet Mummy?

Me: Not yet honey. Would you like Him to?

Billy nods with a huge grin and wide eyes.

Me: Well, you'll have to ask Him then.

Billy: Yes! I will do that. I will ask for another boy. Or a girl. Or a girl and a boy.

Me: Well I think Jesus will give us whatever is best for us to have.

Billy: Like when He gave us Anna?

Me: Yes honey.

*sigh* he just melts my heart.