Wednesday, 13 September 2017

35.52 a father's day amidst the blossoms

For our (early) Father's Day family day, Mark requested a picnic and bike ride down by the lake.

And so, of course, we did! 


When we arrived the blossom trees were in full glory. Ahhhh, spring, we have been waiting for you!

So although we were all dressed for bike riding (and not nice family pictures!) of course I had to get Mark's Father's Day photos amidst those stunning blooms!

How blessed these kids are to have a father like this guy. How blessed I am to parent alongside him... like, seriously, phew! 

He is a good one (the best!!) and I looooove seeing his special bond with each child in these photos. They adore him and all have so much fun together :) 

Eli asked to take photos of us. He took these with my big camera and did an awesome job, don't you agree!!! :) 

We love this guy so much!!! 

Happy Father's Day, honey xx

Project 52: A portrait (or a few!) of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

34.52 brotherly teeth brushing // siblings learning to get along

Big brother giving little brother a demonstration on 'how to brush your teeth like a boss'.

Little brother soaks it all in. 

Much giggling and brushing and bonding (and spitting) ensues. 

Heart melt xx

It's funny. Sometimes you have those parenting challenges emerge, and you dig in, and work hard, but then as change tends to happen slowly, you kinda forget to even notice the results. Oops.

As mentioned previously, Eli and Miles went through a stage where they just seemed to be riling each other up all the time. In retrospect I really think this little laundry project was a turning point in their relationship. We did a lot of other stuff too - talking things out, skilling them up in how to work things out, role play for conflict resolution, etc. (Also, alternately pulling my hair out and praying for patience!). They did a lot of work too, in recognising the kind of brothers they wanted to be (best friends!) and implementing a lot of self control and trying new strategies. Maturing too, I guess. 

But then I kinda forgot to keep track of it, lol, till just over the last few days I suddenly realised, wow these two have been getting along so great!  When things weren't going well, it had been so easy to focus on it. Funny how the absence of a problem makes it even easier to forget to recognise and be grateful for improvement!! I suddenly became conscious of how they were playing well, talking through problems calmly, working things out , doing chores together happily (like putting away the laundry while giving each other a high five and shouting 'team work!' for every item complete, haha!) and just having fun together without it constantly dissolving into problems. 

And the change happened so slowly I didn't even realise!

Isn't it funny. I worked so hard, they worked so hard, a good change happened but we didn't even recognise it when it came. I wonder how often that happens in our lives. It can be so much easier to focus on the problems and overlook the successes. Well, of course as soon as I did recognise it, I was sure to tell the boys how lovely it was to see them treating each other lovingly and as best friends. They are pretty proud of themselves too! I'm also musing about what else I can do to help celebrate and cement their brotherly bond and progress/maturity.

Of course, there still are, and still will be ups and downs but it warms my heart to see their bond blossom and hopefully we are all on a better track. Lessons learnt will help us all the next time issues crop up again (as they inevitably will because family/siblings/life/etc!).

Siblings can be life's greatest challenge when you are little but hopefully become more and more a blessing and support as they grow and face life together. That's my prayer!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

33.52 book week dress up costumes

Dressed up for Book Week...

Wombat from Wombat Stew (nibbling a carrot), Judy Moody and Mr Twit from Roald Dahl's The Twits.

The cuuuuuuuutest xx

And me feeling like a real bookweek parent, rather than a total slacker like I usually am, thanks to generous last minute costume loans from my very creative friend, Jess!

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

32.52 little landscapers

We are in the middle of a big garden overhaul (well, big for us, this ain't Backyard Blitz, haha!). 

The best part is the opportunity to get the whole clan outside working together in the sunshine. Just love these family projects and being outside together.

Eli especially works hard, without break or complaint. My happy helper, he amazes me!

These  kiddos hauled greenery to the trailer, raked and chopped. A day's work (well, a short afternoon, let's be honest) well done.

Will they remember these days - and will it be fondly or as slave labour?! I'm not sure but I know I will treasure them in my heart always xx

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2017.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

31.52 baby beethoven at great papa's house

Just my four year old gently playing his first sonata. 

Ha! Just kidding.... if only pictures came with sound you could hear the random (but still sweet) plinking and plunking on his great-grandfather's piano.

We gathered at my 96 year old Papa's home to celebrate and remember some special ones we have loved and lost. 

As you can see, Papa sure knows how to entertain, even still. The consummate gentleman and host. 

How grateful I am for times together like these. Honouring and connecting.

And later, as the sun set and we went to leave, the boys started scampering around and you can bet I had my camera out in a flash to capture that golden hour and those precious moments.

Yes, my 96 year old grandfather baked and prepared all this. He is amazing!

Project 52: A portrait of my family once a week, every week, in 2017.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

lily // nine

My darling girl is nine. Almost double digits, as she would say, and I can hardly believe we are almost into a decade of parenting.

Lily, you have really embraced the tween zone this year. A voracious reader, you are tearing through books at a rapid rate, including many non-children's books too (you comb through my book shelves but to your dismay as you try to squirrel them off to your room, I have to inform you that many of the books are not yet quite appropriate!). Your devotion to reading fills me with joy of course, to see you become such a little book worm! 

You love hanging out with your friends, such a social butterfly. I am so grateful that you still fill me in on every social intricacy and we talk all the issues through together. I am so in awe of how self-assured and self-aware you are. How I pray we always have this relationship, it's such a privilege to be part of your world, even as it expands and grows beyond our home. I know you are so very eager to be grown. You love to take solo walks around the block. Be part of adult social events. And yet you are still so very little and I hope you can embrace your childhood for a good while yet!

You are so very funny and quirky, a total tomboy (you now spurn dresses and don't even suggest anything pink!!!) yet you still yearn for perfume and makeup and a hair straightener. You loooooove animals and have plans to be a vet (and with zero squeamishness may very well end up there!). You are constantly writing stories and plans and lists. You are incredibly creative, always sculpting amazing things out of scraps and bits and pieces. You are incredibly articulate and socially aware. How will all these beautiful parts that make you 'you' meld together over the years? I can't wait to see how God works in your life! 

It's a blessing to parent a girl like you. While we stumble our way through this new phase, leaving early childhood behind and head towards the teen years, I know it won't always be easy being our 'trial run' as the first born. But I am more grateful than ever for our strong bond, your respectful nature, and your kind and gentle heart. You are a beautiful big sister and a wonderful girl full of light and sparkle and spunk.

We love you, Lily, and couldn't be prouder of the young woman you are becoming through the grace of God. 

The Annual Interview with Lily...

What are you going to be when you grow up?
A hard decision... so many things! An acrobat! 

What’s that going to be like?
Very fun and creative! 

What are your favourite toys?
Can they be pillows? My watermelon pillow and food!

Who are your best friends?
Hayley from church, Charlie and Elsa. 

What makes you happy?
Hanging out with friends and going to the movies with just my parents. 

What makes you sad?
When my pets die.

When you dream at night, what do you dream about?
I had a great dream about where I break world records but they all go wrong. So it's like science experiments. 

What do you like to do with Daddy?
Do weightlifting and go to the movies. 

What do you like to do with Mummy?
Go to the ice skating rink and also have snuggles.

What do you like to do with Eli?
Practise tricks on the seesaw. 

What do you like to do with Miles?
Play lego with him and snuggle wrestles. 

What’s your favourite colour?

What’s your favourite book?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

What does Daddy do during the day?
Works very hard and comes home tired.

What does Mummy do during the day? 
Do you help homeless people? Help homeless people and come home exhausted. 

What do you do during the day?
Hang out with friends and go to school.

It's good to be nine because.....
Because you are almost double digits and you are a TWEEN! You are also no longer an equal number. 

The collage....