Friday, 29 November 2013


For our advent calendar this year we gave the kids more opportunity to serve each other and their community. We desperately want their hearts to embrace the true meaning of this beautiful season.

They all take a turn opening an envelope which contain a small treat, a joke and an activity we can enjoy as a famiy.
Here are some of the activities included this year...  we brainstormed ideas and Google helped us out with the rest!! 

Read the Christmas story
Bake for the local firestation as a way of saying thank you for their amazing service
Make cookies and take them to our neighbours
Have a slumber party beside the Christmas tree as a family
Watch a Christmas movie
Have a dinner with each of the grandparents with the (kids making it and serving them)
Take a gift and put it under the tree at Kmart
Make and decorate gingerbread men to give away
Pick up a takeaway hot chocolate and drive around the Christmas lights
Go op-shopping for kids to buy Christmas presents for their siblings (thanks Dee!)
Do something lovely for a family member
Do something lovely for a non family member
Dress up for dinner
Have a fish and chip dinner at the beach
Make and give Christmas cards for teachers and Sunday School teachers
Write a love note for all your siblings to go in their stockings
Visit Birdwoods (our favourite old fashioned lolly shop)
Make popcorn and watch Home Alone
Make paper snowflakes
Take a walk through the Redwoods together
Have a midnight feast
Make a gift and send it to Tims employer

A mix of serving others and connecting as a family  as we head into the crazy season!

(I have written down what we are doing each day in my diary as well so I am not taken by surprise or forget what's coming up. I also have only filled half the envelopes with activities so I can shuffle those last two weeks as necessary!)

Do you doing anything for Advent?
would love to hear your ideas


Sunday, 17 November 2013


1. Backyard fun... who would have thought that the humble badminton game would provide hours and hours of entertainment.

2. Baby's first swim. A bit of a natural it turns out.

3. Last weekend was party central as our girl turned 15. Wowzers. Teenagers for Africa... family for miles and a party that lasted all weekend. Crazy wonderful chaos.

4. The husband and I celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss by spending nearly a whole week in the gorgeous Queenstown. A rejuvenating.. wonderful.. blissful week. (more on this to follow as soon as I find a spare moment)

5. The bliss of that week was rewarded with an awfully sick baby on our return home. Nothing, and I mean nothing got done while he snuggled and recovered.

Hope your week has been beautiful
I promise to be back asap to bore you with loads of photos from our trip away!


Joining in with the Beetleshack for the stills collection

Friday, 8 November 2013


November first marked our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Sixteen years of lots of ups and many downs... huge amounts of laughter and loads of tears.

Marriage is hard work. I dont think its just us. 
Two selfish sinners trying to live together, raise kids together and do life together with all it's hardships and surprises - both good and bad -  can be rough going.

I read a perfectly timed article recently titled 'marriage is not for me' and you know what... It really isnt.
Its not about me at all.
Its about my husband. 
Its not a place where we can get away with asking "what's in it for me?" but more... "what can I give?"
Its about making his happiness more important than my own - and that is something I don't do so well. 
I like things to be just the way I like them... I am happy when all my little ducks are lined up in a row -  the house is tidy and clean, my love tank is filled to the brim, money is in the bank, stress is at minimum and everyone around me is happy. 
The thing is, funnily enough, none of those things happen very often. As soon as the house is tidy.. someone messes it UP! As soon as there is finally some money in the bank... someone outgrows their shoes or clothes or eats all the food or dares to hurt themselves and we have a doctors visit to pay for. Stress is pretty much part of life everyday when there are seven other souls to take care of and our happiness is something each of us are individually responsible for. 
I can't force those I love to be happy and the thing is there is always someone who will be annoying, words spoken that shouldn't be and grumpiness that rears its ugly head. 
These are all daily occurrences and their presence should not dictate how I treat my husband.

But oh boy they do.

I had to swallow a bitter pill this week when I asked Tim to be honest with me about how he was really feeling. And to his credit (and my shame) he was. We have drifted apart this year... a combination of long work hours, a new baby and the demands of a big family have meant my focus was on everything but him. 
A precious friend who tragically lost her husband when she was a young mama has always reminded me that our children are here because of our marriage not the other way round. Our spouse NEEDS to be our priority regardless of the busyness of life and family and I confess I had forgotten that wise advice. Tim was struggling to stay connected and that reality broke my heart. 
I sure was glad for the opportunity to get away for five whole days this past week and have much needed time to talk, reconnect and most importantly listen.

I resolve, with Gods help, to make my husband my priority, my speech kinder and my heart softer and I pray that the next sixteen years will be even sweeter.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013


I was shocked beyond words when my son walked into my room the other day and caught me smiling at something I was reading.
'MUM!' he exclaimed,' you are smiling!'
'What do you mean?  I smile often'
'Yeah.. but not like that... not with you mouth open and your eyes happy'.

Those words tore at my heart.

I would have considered myself a happy person. I have been through enough loss and hardship to learn that circumstances cannot determine my happiness. Its been a battle hard won. 
One I had refused to concede. But, it seems, unwittingly, I have. 
Despite my very best intentions, I have become overwhelmed with the little things -  the small stuff I know not to sweat. 

The look of my home has become more important than the look of my heart. And thats not ok.

You see, too often I gauge my happiness on what's right in front of me, how stressful my situation is right now instead of looking at the big picture. I need to remember to step back, take a big breath and be thankful. 
Yes... life sure is crazy hard at times. Sleepless nights, hormonal teenagers, grumpy children and a restless baby can be tough going. 

I got a slap in the face reminder about what true happiness looks like and where it comes from

I can be happy regardless of my situation because I know that my happiness is centered on so much more than what happens to be staring at me from moment to moment.
Because my happiness is centered in my Father in Heaven. 
He alone gives me all the security, joy and validation I need ~ when I am anxious, lonely, or overwhelmed I can fall on Him and find true honest joy in the safety of His arms.
Regardless of circumstance.

Psalm 61:2 says ...From the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

There is Someone on who I can lean when life gets too much... too busy and stressful and hard.
This means that the true happiness I experience is not dictated to by the noise level of my children, the extent of my finances, how many friends I have, how tidy and clean my house is, how lovely my garden looks, or how many times my husband thinks to buy me flowers.... yadda, yadda, yadda
(don't get me wrong.. flowers are lovely and do help me feel pretty amazing! Tim... wink wink!!) 
It means that in the absence of these things I can still be joyful and happy.
Because I know that everything that I am experiencing now is only temporary, life here on earth will pass by so quickly and the stuff that seemed so huge and overwhelming will suddenly appear so insignificant in the light of eternity. 

A number of years ago I began a journal that recorded the loss of three of our babies. In it I made a deliberate effort to find the small moments of beauty I could be thankful for, when life constantly felt like a series of heartaches and agonies. It was amazing to me that there was still so much around me that was breathtaking in its goodness when it could have so easily been the opposite. It has been refreshing to read back through this and be reminded of how much joy there is in our day to day life if only we take the time out to find it. 

This in essence is what true happiness looks like. It is evident in one who understands that life is so much more than the here and now. That the burdens of everyday - whether they are mammoth or somewhat smaller - are momentary. That it is the eternal purposes that are the only ones truly worth pursuing. 


Thursday, 10 October 2013


I am a very lucky lady. Not only do I have the most awesome bunch of kids and fabulous hubby... I also have the best bunch of friends. Including this wonderful lady... who not only spoilt me rotten for my birthday but also braved opening up her home to this gigantic family... she fed, cared for and loved each one of us for four whole days. 

Freshly roasted and expertly made coffee, freshly baked bread, neverending baking, and general bliss were the order of the weekend and as you can imagine.. I didnt want to come home! Ever.

Birthday flowers

Honing my soccer skills

My divine Birthday dinner... freshly caught snapper and venison

Coffee on the deck

We even got to sneak out for a birthday brunch... just the two of us!

The family Rolston

Thank you Dee for an exceptional birthday.
We love you.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013


 ... by way of keeping my sanity, anything not completely and utterly necessary has fallen by the wayside this month.
Including this space.
So here is a collection of moments... captured as I was able.

We have these terribly steep stairs at home and this baby is determined to reach the top. I spend all day trying desperately to keep him off them. Not because I want to wrap him in cotton wool and prevent him from exploring and experimenting... just because those little stocking-ed feet are so slippery and that would be a hard fall.
I have enjoyed moments of beauty this month as the tulips have bloomed and the weather has warmed our bodies and and our hearts. Picnics on beaches and hilltops with precious friends... Birthday parties and weekends with a houseful of children. I finally secured a world map I had been drooling over for ages and the hubby and I managed a date night {with a chaperone naturally}
While its been a hard month... a time of relearning my limits and humbling my heart... it has also been glorious to feel the sun's warmth on my cheeks and enjoy time with my family.

We have school holidays here at the moment and the lack of routine is delightful.. sleepy lie-ins and lazy days are bliss. I am also gleefully anticipating a weekend away for my birthday with one of our favourite families.

I am truly blessed. 

Here's to  a beautiful October 


Friday, 27 September 2013


This week I hit a brick wall. Actually I smashed into it doing 100 miles an hour and fell on the floor in a big quivering mess. Not literally fortunately but emotionally, physically and mentally ~ I completely came to the end of myself.
Unfortunately it coincided with Tim being away for work which may or may not have had something to do with it... but whatever the reason it certainly had been brewing for a while... and when it happened it was nasty.

I swallowed my pride and inspired by this darling lady I rang my mum. 
Not an easy thing for me to do... the whole admitting I'm struggling things is really really hard for me. I like to appear capable and competent and totally on top of everything.

Anyway.. My mama arrived. With dinner, breakfast and B vitamin and iron rich superfoods she had me chugging back brewers yeast smoothies (argghh... still as disgusting as when I was a kid) and floradix tonic while I rested and read.
My house is clean and washing done and folded... I have rested and slept for the first time in a long time... and already I am feeling more like my old self.

So thankful and so blessed.

Thank you God for mums



... and did I mention it is so easy and super fast!?! Win win in my book that's for sure!

125g butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
2 mashed bananas
1 1/2c self raising flour
1/4 c milk

Melt the butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the banana then the egg. Mix through flour then milk gently

Bake at around 170 for around 40 mins. 


I then drizzled with a simple chocolate icing for extra yumness but that is entirely optional. 
Also.. I will try doubling next time. By the time afternoon tea was consumed and a slice wrapped for lunches the next day it was all gone. Oh the joys 

Let me know what you think? 
Baked anything simple and scrumptious lately?

Monday, 2 September 2013


1. This baby is already a bit of a regular on the cafe scene

2. Beautiful Billy

3. Big, long, delish dinners; full of laughter, food and loads of family - perfect combinations

4. My man and I (someone is less than impressed with getting his picture taken by the look of it)

5. Would you check out that HAT! (and the baby... oh the cuteness!!)

6. This guy. One of the best dad in the business. My kids are blessed to have him as their father and I am super blessed to get to do life with him by my side. I hope he had an amazing fathers day... we loved spending it with him.

7. Speak evil of no one... avoid quarraling... be gentle and show perfect courtesty. A brilliant way to live life.

Loving that spring has sprung and September is here. 
Oh yeah... see ya later stinky old winter.
Would someone please explain where this year has gone though?! I just can't get my head around the fact that 9 months have passed since this happened.

Joining in with the lovely Em from the Beetleshack for the weekly stills collection

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Actually its more like 7.5 to be honest so I had to get these pictures in quick before September rolls around and I missed the entire seventh month!

Woah mama... would someone please STOP THE BUS and let me catch my breath! I simply cannot believe that this much time has passed since this wee boy entered our lives ~ although in saying that, I can barely remember life without him.

He is crawling like a crazy thing now and climbing up on everything he can reach. He doesn't like sleeping thank you very much so tends to do as little of it as possible. Unless I cuddle and snuggle him to sleep then he is quite happy.
 Which (shhhh - secret squirrel) is just fine by me.

He isn't too fond of solid food either unless he is eating it all by himself so ... 
go the baby led weaning!!

He also has decided sleeping through the night is just for little babies and since he is such a big boy now he can wake up and get cuddles and food from mama instead. 

All night parties round here! the way, would you get a load of that hat!!
Is that not the cutest thing you have ever seen! 
He has one very talented aunty alice.

On another note it is lovely to be enjoying this baby without the desperately sad feeling that I no longer have a tiny newborn around. I wondered if the feeling that I was 'done' would ever come and I am glad to say that for the first time ever. It has.
I am loving everyday with this precious treasured gift but I don't have the aching sense of loss that I have had in the past as my babies have grown.

(I was a little worried there!!)


Sunday, 11 August 2013


1. Daphne in full bloom. I just don't tire of this flower.... it's in every room of our home.

2. G&T's with my sister in law after the best surprise EVER visit all the way over from Aussie... joining all the rest of Tim's family who were home for a visit. A rare time of togetherness with no one missing.

3. Heartbreaking farewells

4. Gorgeous new boots - Finally!!

5. This little guy is desperate to stand up!! Noooooooo

6. Tree lined entrance to our neighbouring city.. a gloomy day to match our gloomy mood as we drove to the airport to farewell our family making their way back to their respective countries.

7. We sat atop the bluff after an emotional time at the airport. Eating pizza in the car and we calmed as we watched the ocean 


Although so sad having to say goodbye I am at the same time so so happy as my mama arrives back in the country tonight after travelling for the last four months.

Whoop whoop

Joining in with the Beetleshack for the weekly stills 

(arghhh... grainy grainy photos!)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Its a sicky sucky yucky kinda day around here.
Lots of hot drinks... movies... and sleep 

I wish the sleep part was something that I was indulging in but sadly no.
This baby loves his mama so much he just doesn't like being apart.
Especially at night.

Lucky he is so darn cute. 
It really saves his cute weeny tush.

Monday, 5 August 2013

~ weekly stills {a catch up edition} ~

               1. Bonfire

               2. My newest teenager and his grandad

               3. Birthday pizza at our local

               4. The only way this one will sleep

               5. Bliss

               6. Best love note ever

These days I feel like I am lost in a thick fog of exhaustion. Sleepless baby nights and sick children are taking their toll. I am off to stock up on some heavy duty multivitamins and a good eye cream. 


Linking in with Em at the Beetleshack 

Monday, 29 July 2013

and then there were two teenagers in the house!


This kid turned thirteen yesterday. 

It blows my mind to think that he has already reached these teenage years... wasn't it was only yesterday that we welcomed our tiniest baby three weeks early?
 He is and always has been the most darling boy... full of love and cuddles with the most beautiful smile. Eager to please and considerate of everyone around him.
A non-conformist. He see things differently and does them in his own unique way. 
A born leader.
He is and always has been our gentle adventurer. 
The next Bear Grills or Huckleberry Finn
Never seen without a slingshot, air rifle or bow and arrow in hand he is always moving... running... hunting.... living life to the full.
 He dotes on the baby and is the first to greet him every morning... watching his sleeping brother till he wakes 
so he can be the first to hold him. 

Alex you are so aware of being the eldest son, it is a joy to watch to you lead and encourage your brothers... you know your example is one that will be followed by those younger and although you get it wrong at times and lose your patience you always come back to make it right. 

Our prayer for you is that you will seek the Lord... put Him first.. and love Him with all your heart.
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"-- Ecclesiastes 12:1


In honour of this adventure seeking, adrenalin junkie we held an action packed party... SAS style.

capture the flag... complete with paintball guns! whoop whoop!


direct hit!

the younger brothers and cousins waited so patiently for their turn

what party would be complete without a cake made by your older sister to top it all off.

check out the camo icing!!

~ Happy Birthday Alex ~


{footnote - thanks Aunty Alice for the photos... being the super ultra organised mother that I am 
I forgot to charge the camera!}