allthingstendingtowardtheeternal

the rambles of a family of five in Australia


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Quiet down, cobwebs.

So… somehow it is December and we are in the throes of Christmas preparation, but according to the blog, little Miss S has only just turned two and we are heading into winter.

What can I say? It turns out that I am not a very good blogger, and that keeping some of my plates spinning at home means dropping all of my internet related ones.

So be it, I guess.

I came across the poem below very recently, and although I don’t have five children, it resonated with me.
Many people can do lots of things well, I can’t. But I do want to spend as much ‘best’ time with my three littles as I can. They are fast becoming bigs, and I want to soak them in, drink them up and shower them with love, compassion, fun and joy.

So here’s to me remembering (and making time) to record some more of their lives here, and not to beating myself up if it’s a while between posts!

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


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Suzannah turns two!

Happy Birthday to our little English Rose! Two years have flown by and we are thankful to be celebrating her second birthday. Here are some photos of her birthday week.

S & E at Gma & Gpa's, watching the digger at work

S & E at Gma & Gpa’s, watching the digger at work

THE photo! We love this!

THE photo! We love this!

Just about to open presents- S and Aunty Lolly!

Just about to open presents- S and Aunty Lolly!

Opening her gift from Grand Nan - Spike the baby Dragon!

Opening her gift from Grand Nan – Spike the baby Dragon!

Getting ready to feed her dragon baby... The bottle was soon ditched in favour of 'mummy's milk'. Not sure dragons mind bottled milk, but heigh ho!

Getting ready to feed her dragon baby… The bottle was soon ditched in favour of ‘mummy’s milk’. Not sure dragons mind bottled milk, but heigh ho!

Still cuddling Spike, for a birthday photo with Mummy and B.

Still cuddling Spike, for a birthday photo with Mummy and B.

Just about to blow out the candles - a long-awaited moment!

Just about to blow out the candles – a long-awaited moment!

Mmmmm, ice cream cake...

Mmmmm, ice cream cake…

Our two year old girl, running for joy on the morning of her birthday.

Our two year old girl, running for joy on the morning of her birthday.


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Ewan turns four!

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Ewan’s birthday this year crept up on us, like all his previous birthdays! Somehow we are always into April before we know it. For his first birthday and his third birthday we were preparing for international moves, and found it difficult to focus too much on parties and celebrations. This year, little B’s arrival meant that we have struggled to get out the door in the morning for quite routine things, let alone organise a party. However, he was convinced that he would be having one, so on the proviso that it would be more like a ‘group play date’ we consented to give it a go.

Invitations and bunting were home-made, decorations were borrowed and friends and family helpfully made parts of the birthday feast or willingly got involved on the day.

The theme (if it can be so-called!) was based around the idea of construction – as it is the activity and topic closest to E’s heart and interests at present. We decided that if it was a fine day we would encourage the kids to spend the party outside (less clean-up!) and to that end we organised 3-4 piles of soil to be strategically dumped at one end of the garden. Along with a fresh load of sand for the sand-pit, we hoped that the children would happily dig, tunnel and otherwise amuse themselves getting oh-so-mucky, before the birthday morning tea.

The weather, however, had other plans, so we had play-doh construction inside, loads of construction vehicles on the play mat and plenty of blocks, duplo and other building-type toys set up in the play room.

In the end, the back yard dried out enough for everyone to run around, jump on the trampoline and have a dig in the dirt.

Our day ended with a very tired and happy E, who had spent a few joyful hours with his friends, playing, talking and thinking about construction. And that, in the end, is what he wanted most!

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Ewan’s birthday invitation – construction theme

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Birthday invitation

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Play-Doh shenanigans at E's birthday

Play-Doh shenanigans at E’s birthday

Two lovely ladies, Grand-Nan and Nanna, having a chat over birthday cake.

Two lovely ladies, Grand-Nan and Nanna, having a chat over birthday cake.

View of the party from the construction pile in the back yard.

View of the party from the construction pile in the back yard.

Grandma and little B.

Grandma and little B.

Suze, very grown-up with her hair in a bunch and a bit of attitude in her posture.

Suze, very grown-up with her hair in a bunch and a bit of attitude in her posture.

Construction site birthday cake.

Construction site birthday cake.

Construction site becoming a demolition site!

Construction site becoming a demolition site!

Our birthday boy.

Our birthday boy.

Aunty Natalie, helping Suze to demolish the cake.

Aunty Natalie, helping Suze to demolish the cake.

Grand-Nan having some time with little B.

Grand-Nan having some time with little B.

 

Couch time with Grand-Nan after the rest of the revellers have departed.

Couch time with Grand-Nan after the rest of the revellers have departed.

 

 

Party favours

Party favours

 

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Suze, frocked up for church, holding the car she claimed as hers from E’s birthday haul.

E, with his car carrier, complete with crane - can you tell it's his new favourite?

E, with his car carrier, complete with crane – can you tell it’s his new favourite?

 

Opening one final present...

Opening one final present…

 

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You can just see the piles of soil and the sand-pit at the bottom of the garden…

 

 

 

 

 


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Our life, with Benjamin, the last 8 weeks

The semi-chaos of the early weeks of bringing a new baby home has resolved itself into somewhat of a discernible routine. Loose, I grant you, but present, which is a great leap forward and a comfort, as we found ourselves tiring at Week 6 from lack of sleep. We always feel that Week 6 is the half-way mark for new-babyhood. Week 12 is where the light at the end of the tunnel becomes dazzling sunshine, perhaps with a view of snow-capped mountain peaks, but Week 6 is still firmly ‘pick-axe over shoulder, trudging through the night towards a pin-prick of light that wavers alarmingly from time to time. Occasionally you glance over at your fellow trudger (in my case, husband Rob) and by the light of a pale and guttering candle, see the lines of exhaustion etched into a face grimy from being at the coal face of parenthood.’ So we are well and truly through Week 6, and these photos show some of the daily/weekly events and visitors who have cheered us on and encouraged us in our weariness. Don’t get me wrong, we do love our children, but the ‘new baby’ part seems to be more tiring each time. And no, I don’t think having three babies in under four years and two international moves had ANY part to play!

R and S, mowing the front lawn, one early evening, just before bath time

 
R and S, mowing the front lawn, one early evening, just before bath time

R & E, mowing the back yard, later the same evening, still before bath time. Can you see how much E wishes he was driving it BY HIMSELF?

R & E, mowing the back yard, later the same evening, still before bath time. Can you see how much E wishes he was driving it BY HIMSELF?

Aunty Natalie, making faces at Suze.

Aunty Natalie, making faces at Suze.

Grand-Nan, meeting Benjamin for the first time, and having some special time with E.

Grand-Nan, meeting Benjamin for the first time, and having some special time with E.

Daddy and B, having an afternoon turn around the room.

Daddy and B, having an afternoon turn around the room.

Big Brother and Little Brother, comparing heights on the play mat.

Big Brother and Little Brother, comparing heights on the play mat.

Three little monkeys, making faces.

Three little monkeys, making faces.

Look how long our babies are!!!

Look how long our babies are!!!

My little rain babies - suited up and ready to play in the mud.

My little rain babies – suited up and ready to play in the mud.

Mummy and B, supervising the mud warriors from the safety of the verandah.

Mummy and B, supervising the mud warriors from the safety of the verandah.

Little B, smiling for Gma.

Little B, smiling for Gma.

Lack of sleep makes us ridiculously smiley...

Lack of sleep makes us ridiculously smiley…

Gma, proud of having rocked little B to sleep. Little B has the contortionist tendencies made so popular by his siblings...

Gma, proud of having rocked little B to sleep. Little B has the contortionist tendencies made so popular by his siblings…

Gma and Little B.

Gma and Little B.

All together

All snuggled up together.

S, licking batter from the cake bowl after we made a batch of gingerbread...

S, licking batter from the cake bowl after we made some raspberry-buttermilk cupcakes… Why is it that my strategy for keeping myself awake when in the new baby stage invariably involves sugar and carbs, and not a quick run?

Play-Doh shenanigans... S: Mum!! I can't get the pizza-handle-cheese-grater-thingy to turn. My Play-Doh pizza will be RUINED!

Play-Doh shenanigans…
S: Mum!! I can’t get the pizza-handle-cheese-grater-thingy to turn. My Play-Doh pizza will be RUINED!   E: My Play-Doh construction is all going rather swimmingly, thank you! Note the teeny tiny Play-Doh bits all over the floor. It was the scene of much hands-and-knees pickeruppering, and a stern telling-off by me. Why oh why do they LOVE rolling little balls of it, every SINGLE time? So much for a quick, clean activity while little B was feeding…

Happy little B, contentedly awake after a long sleep.

Happy little B, contentedly awake after a long sleep.


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Getting out and about, or more accurately, how to buckle and unbuckle three children into and out of their carseats without hurting yourself or them…

The WORST thing about trying to live a ‘normal’ life with two little energetic people, while getting used to having a baby in the house again, is physically getting them into and out of the car on your own. When two of us are going out with all the kids, it is tricky (now that we are outnumbered), but when I am on my own and heading out, for the first few outings it was mind-blowingly complicated. Especially when you factor SAFETY in as the top priority (i.e. not allowing any child to be hit by a car, or run away), closely followed by TIMING as the second priority (i.e. the baby has been fussing for the last 20 minutes of our play at the park/grocery shopping/preschool drop-off/pickup and now that we are about to open the car door and buckle him in, he has entered a state closely related to a crying-induced seizure, but SURE, you can look at the ant/decide you must climb in BY MYSELF!/want to learn how to buckle in your brother/sister in 27 easy steps… or insert 1000 other delaying tactics here.

Sometimes, hunching into the car – OVER one child, to reach the one in the middle, while being repeatedly kicked in the thigh by the other other, while listening to the baby screaming, feels like a special form of torture. Keeping my mind on the fact that having a car is a privilege and having three wriggling contortionists  children to strap in is a blessing can be a real challenge.

With the above as a caveat reflecting on the beginning and ending of our outing, here are some photos of our first trip to the park!

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“Who’s that walking over my bridge?” – Role playing the 3 Billy Goats’ Gruff

Getting some air time on the slide

Getting some air time on the slide

I am Spider Man - look at ny web, Mum!

I am Spider Man – look at my web, Mum!

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View of the blue sky and scent of the fresh air, after 3 weeks inside the house. Hurrah for outings! (Although not for the necessity of car seats and buckles)

View of the blue sky and scent of the fresh air, after 3 weeks inside the house. Hurrah for outings! (Although not for the necessity of car seats and buckles)

Shameless selfie - with joyful face!

Shameless selfie – with joyful face!


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Our life, with Benjamin, the early weeks.

 

Ewan, sleeping with his personally designed 'thunder-muffs' on to reduce his exposure to summer thunderstorms...

Ewan, sleeping with his personally designed ‘thunder-muffs’ on to reduce his exposure to summer thunderstorms…

 

 

LIttle B, just hanging around...

Little B, just hanging around…

 

 

 

 

 

E, taking his duties as the biggest very seriously.

E, taking his duties as the biggest very seriously.

 

 

Sister Suze, killing with kindness.

Sister Suze, killing with kindness.

 

 

What the biggest children get up to while B is having all his meals...

What the biggest children get up to while B is having all his meals…

 

Our big boy, getting ready to go to preschool.

Our big boy, getting ready to go to preschool.

 

 

This evidence of book-loving gladdens our hearts.

This evidence of book-loving gladdens our hearts.

 

Aunty Lolly with little B

Aunty Lolly with little B

Trying to get a decent group shot...this is the best we could do!

Trying to get a decent group shot…this is the best we could do! My children are rascals and loving it!

 

 

Another attempt at a family photo... too serious, methinks.

Another attempt at a family photo… too serious, methinks.

 

 

The view I want to see more than any other at the end of a long day. Often, it is not this tidy...

The view I want to see more than any other at the end of a long day. Often, it is not this tidy… 

 

E with new haircut... perhaps next time not so short...

E with new haircut… perhaps next time not so short…?

 

 

 


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He is here – safe and sound! (And more than 13 weeks ago…)

It is with thanks and in a certain amount of awe that we welcome our newest addition – Benjamin Sydney. Born oh-so-quickly, but safely and with no complications, on Saturday 5 January 2o13.

Meeting their brother for the first time

Meeting their brother for the first time

Little feet - so so tiny and curled up! New little babies are wonderful.

Little feet – so so tiny and curled up! New little babies are wonderful.

Snug as a bug in a rug

Snug as a bug in a rug

First cuddle at home.

First cuddle at home.

 

 

Benjamin Sydney - our miracle is here, safe and well!

Benjamin Sydney – our miracle is here, safe and well!

 

 

First cuddle with Gma.

First cuddle with Gma.

 

 

First cuddle with Gpa.

First cuddle with Gpa.

 

 

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First cuddle with Nanna.

First cuddle with Nanna.

 

Trying to get a first 'full family' photo - we're struggling to get ourselves organised!

This is what trying to get a photo of all five of us looks like!

 

We are giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for Benjamin’s safe arrival and for the fact that his big brother and sister ADORE him.

(The fact that this post is only just going up 13 weeks after Benjamin’s arrival is a lesson in how long it takes us to do things now that we have three children!)

 

 

 

 


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After Christmas we…

Pre-Christmas 2012 was a harried time for us, so at Christmas and for two weeks afterward, we hung around as much as possible – relaxing with each other, family and friends and resting up for the labour that was shortly to follow.

Suze trying some specs on in the pre-present-opening-entertainment ceremony on Chrismas Day.

Suze trying some specs on in the pre-present-opening-entertainment ceremony on Chrismas Day.

E, following suit!

E, following suit!

Getting her Amelia Earhart/Hayley Lewis on!

Getting her Amelia Earhart/Hayley Lewis on!

E's new big boy bed.

E’s new big boy bed.

Suze jumping on the trampoline.

Suze jumping on the trampoline.

 

Some sand-bound relaxation by the lagoon.

Some sand-bound relaxation by the lagoon. Yes, my baby bump is more of a blimp!

 


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This Christmastide

This Christmas is bittersweet for us – bitter because away from traditions and friends in the UK who mean a great deal to us, sweet because closer to family, back in our own house and expecting joy in the New Year.

We wish you a Happy Christmas with your loved ones, filled with the knowledge of the good news that makes Christmas a day of rejoicing. Love, we four.

God has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Christmas tree, cut down from our fourth paddock and dragged up to the house one hot Sunday afternoon by R and E. Purty, isn’t she? Ben and Gaynor, the fairy lights are in honour of you and our family Christmas with you last year.

E and Aunty Lolly decorating a gingerbread house. E: ‘One for the house, Six for me’ Aunty L: ‘Just eat those, they don’t taste good. Leave the good ones for the house!’
Ta-dah!

Stockings, check! Gingerbread house, check! Tea lights, check! Nativity, check!
Our John Lewis Advent calendar. Something we love and remember from Christmas last year.

Christmas verse a day. E learnt this one last year.

H decided that into the Christmas crazy she would insert some calm sewing of bunting. Great fun, yes! Purty, yes! Calm, no.
It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas!
 
E and S with Aunty Nat, posing with Aunty Lolly’s Christmas camel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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See how they grow…

We have been very blessed in our two precious children, as of course all parents are, and as we have come to the end of 2012, with all its twists and turns, ups and downs and much packing and unpacking, we have (in the midst of tiredness, frustration and general parenting weariness) found ourselves giving thanks to our Heavenly Father for these two bright bundles who give us great joy, grey hairs and sleepless nights and many moments of utter bewilderment. E and S, we love you more each day and are looking forward to additional joy with you next year.


S in July, scooting around the loungeroom floor. We were beginning to think she would NEVER get up and walk!

E in the backyard, mid-winter, wearing his Fireman Sam helmet and busily ‘fighting fires’. When he ‘is a big man, I will be a firefighter and build things for you, Mum!’



Just part of the buidling endeavours E engaged in when let loose on our firewood stack. Never mind splinters or potential spiders, there was some serious construction to be done. At this stage, S was more of a supervisor than a participant.

She looks positively demure here – our little lady!

Sunglasses make me a rock star!



With a packet of glitter crayons from Lincraft and a roll of paper from Ikea, art is let loose upon our household. Cheap, relatively painless and very very therapeutic!

S, after her nap, wearing one of E’s cast-off hats and cuddling her bunny.

Watching R and E working on the front verandah. Spot the traces of tear-stains at not being allowed to join them.
 
And then a carefully contrived pose once she realised the camera was out…
 
 
Hurrah! We finally figured out a way to use ALL the pieces of track to make a shape that connects. We LOVE Thomas here!

One of H’s playgroup ‘science experiments’. The leaves DID change colour, but not dramatically enough to show up in the photo!

If your keys could double as your mobile phone, you might be smiling like this too…

E, covered in cake mixture after licking the bowl clean.

Big brother, little sister.

Ladybird, Ladybird drive away home…

Mmmm, chocolate icing, yummo!