Monday, 22 December 2014

a generous Christmas gesture // from a child's heart

This girl. 

She has been saving every penny for months to buy an iPad (whether she is actually allowed to have one is a whole other story!). 

Any mention of spending her money on other things has been met w horror - eye on the prize and all that. 

Just before her final week of school, she announced that she wanted to cut open her precious money tin and spend all her money on a gift for her beloved teacher. 

(Over $35 that she has slowly saved!)

Part of me wanted to tell her she didn't need to spend it all, especially as I'd already gotten a gift. But how could I quash such heartfelt generosity? I couldn't. Pretty sure if there is a spirit of Christmas it looks something like this little angel's gesture.

Her little brother, inspired by her genorosity, decided he wanted to do the same. Though he hadn't saved as much and decided he didn't want to quite spend every penny, he was eager to choose out his own gifts for his beloved teachers.

And thus, though I have a 'no shops in December' policy, I took the kids to the shopping centre. Lily originally wanted to buy her teacher a full sized live Christmas tree!! But after some discussion, she decided that a gorgeous little wooden table top tree (that he could use year after year) would be just as good - as well as two sweet ornaments. Eli also carefully chose two ornaments all by himself.

There is something so fitting and so very moving about witnessing children give so generously at Christmas - purely out of love and appreciation. 

My children, they teach me so much xx

PS I do believe her teacher got a little teary,  he was so very touched by her gift and the explanatory note :)

Sunday, 21 December 2014

51/52 - finishing the school year in style


We might have created a new tradition this week. 

My little girl finished her first year of Kindy - what a milestone! She has flourished, worked so very hard, kept her love of learning, and best of all remained a kind and faithful friend - we could not be prouder. I decided to celebrate and honour her big year, and welcome in the first day of holidays (Yippee!! Six weeks of holidays!). So I delivered a simple but special breakfast in bed - just fruit salad topped with toasted muesli and greek yoghurt, Nutella toast (!!!) and juice.  

As you can see from this gleeful face, Lily was thrilled when I presented this simple little tray. She just kept repeating 'Thank you Mummy, I love this Mummy, I love you Mummy! Wow, I love this!!'

Such a simple way to celebrate my girl and make her feel loved. A simple little gesture but it meant the world to her - what a gift it was to me to be able to bring her such joy. It was a very fitting way to end the school year and welcome  in the holidays. From this luxurious start, we rolled into a much needed quiet 'Pyjama Day' at home. Just loving that we have a whole week now to prepare for and celebrate Christmas. A few little Christmassey traditions ahead that we need to check off our list!

(iPhone pic)


My helpful little sidekick, pegging clothes on the line. He loves to help and work alongside me, my little companion who whistles while he works.

I love letting my kids work out their own way to get the job done and am not one to quibble on adult type standards when they are just learning the ropes - intention and enthusiasm goes a long way at this age! I just casually mentioned to him while he was haphazardly pegging clothes that I generally like to peg the clothes from the bottom (of the item, eg hanging Tshirts from the hem). He looked at me confused, then said 'Mummy, you need to peg them at the top - see??' And pegged a cloth to the line. Then he put a peg at the bottom of the dangling item and looked at me bemused like 'Are you crazy? This does nothing!

LOL, you sure showed me, son ;)


His latest obsession is chalk drawing. He is constantly begging 'Play outside?? Chalk??' 

(Sidenote: he also says Dishwasher and Peanut butter, so cute, I love seeing his vocabulary flourish!)

He loves drawing out there, covering the patio with his lines and scrawls, (with assistance from his siblings). My busy, outdoorsy little man. 


Father and son, off to do the weekly grocery shop. 

A little bonding time, a little project, a little household help from the boy who will bite directly into the plastic wrapped loaf of bread if given half a second's opportunity ;)

Look at that happy smile. Melt.

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014.

More highlights from the week that was...

It has been a sad news week. Sad our country (the terrifying Sydney siege, the heartbreaking Cairns killings) and also for our family, with some news hitting a little closer to home, to someone we love. Grief upon grief upon grief. But though we are hard pressed on every side, we are not crushed; we are struck down but we are not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4.8-12). I am thankful for hope and peace and God's comfort through every earthly sadness. In bittersweet and somber times, it is all we can do to be ever more grateful and aware of the rich blessings also before us. 

I am so thankful at times like these, for this little weekly ritual, which encourages me to sit and sift through images, remembering and reflecting and storing these blessings up in my heart - oh yeah, and on the interwebz ;)

Last day of Kindy. She wore pink socks to celebrate, lol.
Goodness, look at those long legs, she has really shot up this year!
Me and my girl xx
Celebrating the end of school with a night out at the Christmas Carols - we go most years with dear friends, enjoying singing, food and friendship.
Picnic food...
I made a Four Cheese, Sundried Tomato and Fresh Herb Pull Apart. Oh, and chucky basil pesto dip. Who am I again!? 

This photo fairly well reflects Miles on this night - totally wired! Much of our evening was spent corralling him and preventing him from drinking the mosquito repellant lying out on our neighbours' picnic blanket. Mmm, so relaxing ;) Thankfully towards the end, we had a peaceful half hour, with the kids nestled under blankets, cuddling them and singing carols together. It was so beautiful, just what this heart needed.

This fellow did a smashing job of his first year of playschool. Celebrated him with brekkie in bed too! He is so sad to leave playschool (and his best buddy Thomas) but is going to have a wonderful time at Preschool next year. I am still yet to process that this kid is going to Preschool?! How can it be? 
A very rare treat - Nutella toast - combined with another rare treat - breakfast in bed! Pretty pleased with herself :)
A helping hand to reach the line...
She requested a photo in front of the adorable snowman made by our lovely neighbour! He made one for each of the kids, how lovely is that?!?! They adore them!
Off to deliver treats and a little Christmas cheer to all our lovely neighbours. We are soooo blessed to live on a great street with such a friendly community of good folk :)
Our beautiful friends Mandy and Lucrecia came to town for a flying visit. I absolutely love seeing my kids form cross-generational bonds, learning and being inspired by diverse people. I am so thankful for our church family!
Mandy helps Lily strum a tune on her guitar - Lily is dying for lessons!
Lily decided to organise a craft activity for Miles :) It was adorable to witness, she was very patient and he was thrilled to be unleashed with the glue!!! 
My little Japanese girl!
She has been asking for her own Kimono all year. I had secretly bought one for Christmas, but when she had a Japanese Fun Day at school (they learn Japanese at school), we decided to give it to her early. Amazing or what!?
Fitting that she is standing in front of my beloved Japanese maple tree.
Such a little lady! Tottering around on her Geti (wooden sandals)...

'Ummmm, did you see me drop the chalk into the gumboot??'

Miles loves to tickle Daddy's beard :)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

50/52 - it's beginning to look a lot like...


She took it upon herself to create/collect Christmas gifts for everyone who we will be celebrating Christmas Day with - two gifts each. They are crafted, drawn or pilfered from around the house ('Mum, do you really need all these fridge magnets??'). 

She ended up being home sick for a couple of days but even in her sickness, was determined to finish her self-assigned task, crying to me 'I was planning to get them all done today, Mum, I have to get them all finished!!' as she continued wrapping earnestly, even through her lethargy and my encouragement to just leave them till tomorrow. 

Sometimes she is so much like me, it is frankly terrifying. Seeing your own personality quirks appear before you in a little person (such as being determined to stick to a plan no matter what other reality may occur) is a really eerie thing.... 


Leaping for joy!

The kids were playing outside in the afternoon, deciding to get gloriously muddy while making mud pies. It started raining and suddenly I had the three kids running and leaping around the patio, squealing with delight in the summer shower. And not too long after, they transformed into three little nudies racing around merrily. 

I stood in the doorway watching them, smiling, casting aside other afternoon plans as the chance for a spontaneous rain dance appeared.  Delighting in the way they embraced their childhood, before they all tumbled into the house for a warming shower....


Funny little man, just chilling in a bucket, on a towel, in his PJ's, watching the world go by... as you do?!


To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, we escaped to the coast for a little night away. We have a more significant celebration planned, but it worked out better to wait till next year for that. 

One night away, with the children divided up and left in the hands of their wonderful grandparents, was a much appreciated little getaway. A drive through the mountains, lunch and browsing through historic country towns and let's not forget the interruption-free conversation - bliss! :) With the heavy dose of nostalgia that comes with a decade milestone, we decided to return to the beautiful, secluded little cabin in the bush where we spent our honeymoon. It was still delightful and so very relaxing!

We may now be an old married couple, but thankfully we can work out how to do a bit of a beach selfie on the iphone... right before a stroll on the beach and fish and chips for dinner on the beach too. 

Love this guy truly madly deeply - he is still my very favourite person to hang out with xx

Project 52: A portrait of my family, once a week, every week, in 2014.

More highlights from the week that was....

Our leafy little hideaway. Love the views, hidden amongst a national park.
I took the kids to choose out a gift to donate to the children of Marymead. They took their
decision making very seriously. This is such a special Christmas tradition.
My clever friend Nicole has started up a cookie company called NJ Creations - she is amazing at baking and decorating! She asked if my kids would like to test out her new kid's Christmas 'cookie decorating kits' and of course they were more than happy to both create and then sample ;) Meanwhile, I loved getting to experience all the fun without any of the mess or stress - thanks, Nic!

I can't really sew, but took it upon myself to stitch the kid's names on their stockings. I have to admit it felt rather sweet and homey to do so, to create a little something in their honour. However dodgy and messy the stitching, there was love and satisfaction in the project :)

Five stockings in a row... makes me smile and feel so grateful. Even though the greens clash ;)

The Christmas pile o' pressies is growing day by day. As well as the basket full of unwrapped books from our Christmas Book Advent!

Treasured ornaments, delightfully clumped together by the children. The gold ones were wedding gifts from my dear old housemate. The 'Lily' star is from paperboatpress, each of the children have one. The papered star is one I bought for myself and extended family about three years ago. The beautiful Aboriginal art painted bauble is one Mark bought when in Adelaide last year for the funeral of his grandfather. A small way to remember a great man each Christmas.
Selfie ;)
Eli's turn to decorate!
Eli's amazing cookies :)

She decided she wanted to write Christmas cards to her whole class, and spent an entire afternoon and evening doing so, with a different personalised message to each classmate. She was so pleased with herself, getting them all done in one day.

Ah, childhood!

Hard at work, washing all the pegboards we brought home from Playschool as part of the end of year clear up!