Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sugar high

I gave myself Christmas Day off from fructose-free eating. And probably consumed more sugar than I have in the whole rest of the year combined. 

I fell into bed exhausted at 9pm, got up about 15 minutes later, brain racing, and it's now 12:15. 

Tiredness and sugar-withdrawal crankiness will likely characterise my next few days. Sorry everybody. 

Can you please remind me of this next time?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On the opening of Christmas presents

There seem to be two distinct present opening methods at Christmas time. I'm going to call them 'One-at-a-time' and 'Everybody-in.'

I come from a family of predominantly one-at-a-timers. One person was designated 'Santa,' handing out gifts in an orderly fashion. Everybody was expected to ooh and aah over every gift. Often we paused for photographs.

In the years of the biggest Christmas gatherings, this must have taken a long time. But I don't remember it being so. Perusal of the opened presents and anticipation of those still in the pile helped to fill in the time while the adults opened up their underwear and calendars.

Dave's family are predominantly everybody-in. Oh, the joy of opening present after present after present, all for me. The thrill of all that paper and noise and energy. The sea of chatter as gifts are opened all around. No chance for boredom here!

Two families of origin, with different ways of doing things.

This Christmas, this is what present-opening looked like for us:

One-at-a-time at home before church. One gift each for four people, two of whom can't open independently. It didn't take very long, and we just had time to sit and read a chapter of SP's freshly opened 'The Enchanted Wood' before church.

After church, it was everybody-in with the extended family. We did presents before lunch this year, which worked really well. It meant that SP had new things to play with between courses (particularly his mower), and F could participate in the presents then go to sleep after the entree. I'll admit to getting a little frazzled, as I tried to 'help' F open her gifts, and open mine, and keep the Present Book*, without lagging dreadfully behind everybody else. And I have very little idea of what other people gave each other. But one-at-a-time would have made lunch quite late.

One special one-at-a-time gift, kept back from the others, was opened over lunch. Even if the earlier gifts and their givers were blurred in SP's mind, we wanted him to know that his uncle and aunt in Melbourne were thinking of him and wished they could be there. This is the nativity set they gave – highly recommended.

I guess it doesn't make much difference either way, really. Gifts were given and received, and love was shared. But I like to think things through, and make them as pleasant and meaningful as possible. I'm always searching for a better way. The best way. Though probably it doesn't exist.

So now it's your turn. What did your family do this year? What's your ideal?

*A household notebook where every gift, at every occasion, is recorded. Originally designed to help in thank you card writing, but I like looking back over the years as well.  

Christmas in numbers

One baby waking us in the too-early morning...

One little boy excited for the day...

Two children who waited until after breakfast and Morning 5 to open presents (I wonder if they'll have that much patience next year)...

One Christmas church service...

One conversation with a twice-a-year church attendee - next time I'm praying to hit her much harder with the gospel...

Nine guests at family lunch...

Many, many more presents unwrapped...

Two plastic lawnmowers keeping Aunty Bev's lawn spick and span...

Three yummy courses of lunch, lasting most of the afternoon...

One slightly cranky drive home...

One abbreviated evening routine (not much dinner needed!)...

Two tired children in their beds...

Two tired parents cleaning up and heading to bed too...

One Saviour whose birth we celebrate. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

We're meeting our neighbours

We've been in our current house for our whole married life, nearly 6 years. Yet we only know a few of our neighbours. For a few years now, I've wanted to deliver little Christmas gifts, to get to know some more. This year, we're making it happen. 

We've only done a few deliveries so far. Lots of people not home, and a couple of teenage boy recipients, who were hardly likely to have an indepth conversation. 

But this afternoon, the family of one of the teenage boys left a gift of their own on our front steps. We went over to thank them in person and had a lovely chat.

I was quite chuffed. 

Hopefully we'll meet a few more people tomorrow afternoon. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Little angel

We didn't take any photos ourselves during the carols, so other people's are just starting to trickle in. Here's one my favourites so far... 

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Our church said goodbye to Andrew & Simone today.

I was an 18 year old baby Christian when they arrived, and my life has been enriched in so many ways by their 10 years of faithful ministry. 

I've spent half an hour trying to draft an appropriate post, illustrating the impact they have made, and I'm getting nowhere. But I've already made a speech and written a letter, so maybe they've got the message ;)

Today's farewell lunch was so encouraging. I wish we'd marked their anniversaries along the way. Why do we only celebrate people's contributions when they're about to leave?

Praise God for blogs. They won't be so far away.

6th Anniversary

Dave & I were married 6 years ago today. Six wonderful, fun, challenging, lovely years.

Apparently the appropriate gifts for a 6th anniversary are iron and sugar. So part of my gift to Dave was a big cup of Deb's Superstar Chocolate Fudge Sauce. Made with dextrose instead of sugar, and poured over a spare helping of Dave's semifreddo (like icecream), it looks, acts & tastes exactly like McDonalds chocolate sauce on a sundae. Yummo!

He bought me a new slow cooker. The best useful gifts are those that I haven't asked for. Thanks honey, and thank you for the last 6 years.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

He gets it, but does he really get it?

SP is pretty good with the Christmas story. He knows all the answers he should. Including the whole 'animal feed trough as bed' bit. As long as it's in its nice sanitised Christmas story context.

Earlier today, we were reading a farm book together. With a picture of a farmer putting feed in a trough. 

So I asked "would we put a baby to sleep in there?" 

He put on his 'that's ridiculous' face. "No!"

"Even if we cleaned it out?"
"No! That's where they eat from."

"But that's what Mary & Joseph had to do with baby Jesus..."

Suddenly he saw the story in a whole new light. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The most exciting night of the 3 year old's year

Carols night, including Church4Kids / Playgroup Christmas Pageant. 8 primary schoolers & 20 littlies. Whew!

The big kids were awesome. We've got some lovely singers. And the little ones had a ball.

SP was a very quiet sheep, a bit over-awed with the whole thing I think. And F spent most of the time on Nana's lap in the front row of the audience, rather than on the rug with her fellow angels, but she was mighty cute. 

If I had my time over, we'd spend 3 times as long rehearsing the big kids with parts, and 1/3 as long practicing the nursery rhymes with the little one. A lesson for next time. 

Praying especially for all the playgroup parents/grandparents/friends who came, many of whom may have heard the gospel for the very first time tonight. That makes it totally worth it. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Yes, we know it's been light-on for posts lately. We've been a bit busy (isn't everyone at this time of year), and my current success with Getting Things Done has meant more productivity, less time randomly cruising the internet, and less time blog posting. 

This is not a catch-up post. Just a 'this is what I'm doing right now' post. 

SP has been enjoying a Babar book we got from the library. So I've had a quick look online for videos from the old series. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Words, words, words...

No, not having an Eliza Doolittle moment.  But I do have a question for any who care to comment:

In writing something for a church to sing today, is "verdant" too old fashioned?

I think it's a better fit for the current draft, but if it's a turn-off for congregations, then maybe I need to get over myself and rephrase it.

No, you can't see it in context, yet :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Messy Play Day

We had a messy play day at playgroup today, organised by my excellent friend Karen. 

Inside: Coloured rice with hidden objects, mystery boxes, collage, cereal & pasta for threading. 

Outside: water/ice play, throwing sponges at a target, painting with spray bottles, shaving foam on the windows, and a tub full of jelly. (did I miss anything?)

Then the excellent book Press Here, and making salt dough ornaments, which another mum organised. 

I wish I'd taken photos to show you all. So much fun to be had.

And F showed us all that crawling + water + jelly + shaving cream + dirt + dry grass = 1 really dirty baby :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mummy v Mum

SP has started calling us 'Mum' and 'Dad' recently. Not all the time, there's still a few 'Mummy's and 'Daddy's in there, but they're getting less frequent. 

Just another part of growing up I guess, but I thought we'd have a couple of years yet. 

When did your kids start calling you 'Mum' and 'Dad'? For our mums, when did we?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Melbourne Cup - yawn... Chinchilla Grandfather Clock - not a yawn,,,

Just in case you were living under a rock, or anywhere on the planet outside Australia, today was Melbourne Cup day.  "The day that stops a nation", all for a 3 minute horse race.  And frankly, it's boring.  Sure, I like the fact that work provides lunch for everyone, but what a yawn.

If you like horses and good horsemanship (used in the gender inclusive sense; horsewomanship just doesn't flow off the tongue nicely) then a much more interesting thing to look at is the sport of campdrafting.

I knew it existed, but didn't know any more than that until I saw this report on Landline recently.  The campdraft part starts around 34 minutes in.  (Side note, the program will be taken down from ABC iView on Saturday November 10th so if you're reading after that date, sorry.)

Basically you're on a horse.  But not in the Old Spice sense because you've got to work as a team, both horse and rider.  A mob of 8 or so cattle are released from a pen and the first task is to "cut out" or isolate one beast.  Once you've done this, they'll release a gate and your next task is to steer the beast through a course - two large loops around some markers then a final dash through a pair of trees.  It takes a skilled rider, a skilled horse, and even the best teams can come undone by a skittish or recalcitrant beast.

Much more exciting don't you think?  The Chinchilla Grandfather Clock is one of the biggest campdrafts in the country - yay for the place I called home for 6 years, even if it is just a trophy and not an actual grandfather clock.  But then, if it was a real clock, what would you do when you'd won it for the third time like this year's champion?

Yet another reason to take the kids to a real country show instead of the Ekka.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Memorising 1 Peter 2:4-10

This post is part of a series on memorising the whole book of 1 Peter. To see all the posts in the series, click here

Yep, week 3 and I'm falling behind already. But not as far as you might think - we had an organ service special sermon the other Sunday, so this is officially only a day late...

Here's 1 Peter 2:4-10, to 'Praise to the Lord, the Almighty'. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Teaching kids, continued

Four weeks ago I posted on my first time teaching Sunday School.  Today we finished the four actual lessons for this term, in a rather unusual arrangement the rest of term is going to be spent preparing the kids for their part in this year's Christmas carols.  In my case, it looks like I'll be honing the "epic", or perhaps "boss", ukelele ensemble.

With 400% more experience than last time (sounds much better that way, don't you think?) I wouldn't delete any of the observations from my first lesson, but I would add two more:
  • Maintaining discipline/focus requires constant effort.
  • The kids will surprise you with what they latch on to and what they don't.
My brother-in-law is a teacher and he says if you jump on things hard enough at the start of term, you can usually relax after a couple of weeks.  Unfortunately if you apply that to the once-a-week environment of Sunday School, it means you get to the second last week of term before the kids are actually consistently paying attention.

It's been an interesting stint and although I'm sorry not to be getting a full term of teaching, I think I'll be glad to get back to the comfort and familiarity of music ministry.  Although I must admit that during the break I've advanced one composition further than any others to date...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We ignore Halloween. Nobody's ever knocked on our door and SP doesn't know it exists. But at some point, we're going to have to go one way or the other.

This article by John Dickson is making me think.

What do you do?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

1 year ago today...

... we started this journey

Today, we are privileged to know our happy, healthy, beautiful 10 month old girl. 

May God be glorified.

Vegetable Vandalism

I was vainly hoping that the increased visitation of our next door neighbour's cat might help protect the veggies this year, but it would appear not.

I've been googling for possum solutions for the last half hour. Anybody got any?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Compassion Child

Sun, earth and a dot for Australia.

Our first sponsor child moved away from his project a couple of years ago. I frequently wonder how he's doing. 

We've been supporting the Child Survival Program since then, and waiting for children SP's age to be old enough to join the sponsorship program, in the hopes of sponsoring a child born in the same month as him. 

Last night, we found a boy born on the very same day. 

SP seems quite keen on giving some of our money to help a boy like him who doesn't have much. And intrigued by the idea of daytime here being night time in Brazil. Cue impromptu lesson in the rotation of the earth, with 2 random balls and 2 bits of blutack. He lapped it up, but still doesn't get it. 

R from Brazil, welcome to our family. We pray that your connection with us, and especially with SP, will last a lifetime. 

Resource Help Needed

At our church, kids get Bibles when they turn 7 & 12, as a way of acknowledging their growth & giving us an opportunity to pray for them as a church. 

The most recent 12 year old, a girl, has just been given a couple of new bibles, so I'm looking for devotional material or some good reading. 

At the moment, she's feeling the dilemma between a fascination for David Attenborough & his plant & natural world series (and all things science) and how that fits with her Christian beliefs. 

Does anybody know of any resources out there that would help her a 12 year old with these questions?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Memorising 1 Peter 1:13 - 2:3

This post is part of a series on memorising the whole book of 1 Peter. To see all the posts in the series, click here

I was hoping to have this week's audio up a little earlier, but busy week + sore throat = lack of enthusiasm for recording. 

We sang 'Take My Life and Let It Be' at church last Sunday, so 'Nottingham' is today's tune. 

Here's my audio track. No distorted backing midi this time. 

Happy learning :)

Politically Incorrect Parenting

On Deb's recommendation, I'm reading Nigel Latta's book 'Politically Incorrect Parenting'. 

No author and reader will ever totally agree on parenting philosophy, and as a non-Christian he obviously misses the whole issue of sin and grace in parenting, but a lot of the book is just pure gold. 

Here's my favourite bit so far, which describes his psychology session with an 8 year old who won't sleep in his own bed, and his parents: (transcribed without permission from pages 98-99)

'What do you enjoy most in the whole world, Jordan?' I asked.
Because he had no idea that he was setting himself up, he simply told me. 'Soccer.'
'You like that the most?'
He nodded. 'Soccer is really cool.' 
I could see it in his eyes - this boy was mad passionate about the game. 
'OK,' I said, turning to his parents. 'When would you like him sleeping in his own bed?' I asked it using a tone which said that this would be no problem at all - they just had to choose the night. I used this tone for two reasons: first, to instil some confidence in both them and their son, and, second, because it was true.
They looked at each other, before Petra said, somewhat hesitantly: 'As soon as possible.' 
She smiled as if she wasn't sure I was serious. 'If that's possible.' 
I turned back to Jordan. 'How much do you like soccer again?' 
This time he answered a little less certainly, because, being a very bright young man, Jordan had tumbled my game before his parents had. 'Umm... quite a bit.' 
I laughed. 'You're a smart kid, Jordan. What do you think I'm going to tell your mum and dad to do?' 
He gave me a conflicted frown, because he was pleased with himself for figuring it out, but in the same breath absolutely opposed to the idea. 'That I can't go to soccer unless I stay in bed?' 
I smiled broadly. I liked this boy a lot. 'Bingo.'

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Going, going, eventually going

Back in 2006 I was very excited to find that I'd moved close to a unique shop.  It had three main product lines: wrought iron, antiques, and movie collectables.  Specifically, antique swords and movie collectable blades.  So, like the good public citizen I am I made a contribution to the local economy and bought a couple of Lord of the Rings pieces: Theoden's sword Herugrim and Gimli's double-headed battle axe.  I'm not sure what my future father-in-law thought of it when I brought them around for show and tell, but he still let me marry his daughter so they can't have been too unsettling.

But after several years hanging behind my seat at the dinner table, they, and Aragorn's sword Anduril, are going.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  They look nice, but they've just been sitting there.  At least with some of my other interests, SP and F can get involved, but the axe will break your foot if you drop it in the wrong place, so they've both been hands off.  So the other week I took them down and boxed them in preparation for putting them on e-bay or something.

Now I just need to bring myself to put the ad up, and figure out what price I'll put up with... thanks to the movement of the Aussie dollar there's no chance I'll get dollar for dollar what I put in, but I need to figure out the sweet-spot between giving things away too far below value and setting the price so high that no-one's interested.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teaching kids...

Back at the start of the year, I promised Petrina that I'd teach a term of Sunday school - partly to help out 'cause I see how hard it can be to get enough teachers for the term, partly to show (I hope) that it doesn't have to be the same people over and over again, and that it's OK to do something different to what you normally do at church.

This idea was fine until a couple of weeks ago, when I realised just how close the start of term 4 was.  Saturday was kinda stressful - although I was working off material that other very experienced teachers had prepared, I was still quite uncertain about how I'd go actually teaching it to kids. 

By the time I got to morning tea after church, I was in a state of mild shock.  And somewhat puzzled by reactions when I told people I'd been teaching the 8-11 year old boys.  Everyone seemed to think it would be incredibly hard work, but I didn't think so at the time and I don't think so now.  Short version is that they scare me the least.

As for how the lesson went, well with a grand total of one week's experience, I've learned:
  • Even with a class of 3 it takes effort to engage everyone equally
  • Distractions can come in any number of forms
  • Confiscation is generally an effective way of dealing with distractions
  • Half an hour is not very long
  • Everything takes longer than you think, especially if you haven't memorised the whole lesson beforehand.
  • For these kids at least, saying "that's a tough question, I really don't know and the Bible doesn't say much about it" is an acceptable answer (the prep notes didn't mention that when discussing how Christians will see Jesus again when we die, the class may ask if suicides go to heaven or not)
Now to see what next week's lesson will bring...

TWIST tomorrow

I'm looking forward to an evening of great music :)

I'll be selling CDs at the end of the night. If you're there, come and say hello...

Monday, October 15, 2012

SP sings

Dave and I had the privilege of joining with his brother and sister-in-law (both professional musicians) to provide the music for his sister's wedding.

We sang 'Down in the River to Pray' as a processional. You can hear the Idea of North version here. SP has been singing it ever since, and today he had a go at recording it. 

Pretty good, although I am completely biased, of course. 

And here's a couple of out-takes: 

Singing in a low voice like his uncle and 'put it onto the green...' (he wanted me to play it back for him, and the play button is green). 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ok, now F is signing

Back in August, I reported that F was signing 'more'. It turned out to be a false alarm. After the post, she never did it again.

But in the last 24 hours, she is definitely signing 'finished'. As in this little conversation from the end of lunch today. 

Me: F, we don't throw food onto the floor. If you're finished, you can sign 'finished'.
F signs finished.
End of meal. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

On tonight's menu

Deconstructed cottage pie.

Otherwise known as bolognaise and mashed potato.

Masterchef may not have changed my cooking much, but it sounds better than it used to.

1 Peter memory cards

For those who are playing along, here's the text of 1 Peter in a take-along format, broken into passages to match the sermons. 

I'm planning to laminate a copy for the bathroom wall and keep another in plain paper for my pocket. 

Right click to save the 8 point version, and the 12 point version

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Memorising 1 Peter 1:1-12

We're studying 1 Peter at church this term. And I've decided to try memorising it. If you're wondering 'Why bother?', I'd encourage you to read Jean's series on Bible memorisation.

I'd love you to join me in my little project, or keep me accountable during the term. 

My favourite method of memorising big chunks of bible is to set them to old hymn tunes. I've still got 'To God Be the Glory' in my head after my little organ adventure, so I'm using it for this week's reading: 1 Peter 1:1-12. It takes a bit of set-up, and the word-setting is often a bit clunky and awkward, but this method really works for me. 

Here's the recording (of myself) that I'll be listening to ad nauseum. Backing midi from here.  I'll aim to put one up each week as we progress through the book.

This week's passage below, if you want to follow along. I'm using the ESV. 
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion
in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, 
in the sanctification of the Spirit,
for obedience to Jesus Christ
and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith
for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  
In this you rejoice,
though now for a little while,
if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
so that the tested genuineness of your faith
—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—
may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. 
Though you do not now see him, you believe in him
and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible
and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace
that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating
when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them
that they were serving not themselves but you,
in the things that have now been announced to you
through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels long to look.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Not much embarrassment, really

I had a go at playing the pipe organ for a hymn at church today. Having had one, informal organ lesson about 9 years ago. 

It went surprisingly well. Lots of fumbles & mistakes, but the congregation was kind. And the 80 year old for whom it was a birthday present was pretty thrilled. 

Turns out pipe organs are significantly more difficult to play than pianos. I have a whole new respect for those who do it regularly.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Feels like I'm going to jump off a cliff tomorrow. 

Nothing major, just potential for embarrassment. 

I'll tell you about it once it's over. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Praying for Husbands and Children

Excuse the dodgy photo, but this is the cupboard beside our kitchen sink. On top, 31 Days of Praying for Husbands, from The Adventure of Motherhood, which sadly seems to now be an invitation-only blog, and I don't have an invitation. . Below, 31 Days of Prayer for your Child. A good prompt to pray while I'm washing up.

I've also come across this nifty little bookmark by Susie, on praying for husbands. I'm planning to print it and stick in my Bible.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Building on the Brain

SP is having trouble playing with F without smothering her. 

I say, "We might have to make a new rule that you can't hug F until you've asked for permission."

He says, "Can I use my screwdriver to put the screws in to help you build that new rule, Mummy?"

Monthly Population Survey

We got a letter today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. They'll be interviewing us each month for the next 8 months, as part of their Monthly Population Survey. 

I had no idea such a thing existed. I now know that it's used to calculate unemployment statistics and the like. 

I love a good census, so this should be quite fun. The first time at least. I suspect that 8 will be enough. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happily married

Dave's sister's wedding was on Saturday. Everything was just lovely. We were so delighted to watch this generous, God-fearing couple commit their lives to each other. 

Kids' wedding washing.
Dave's mum made dresses for the bride, 2 bridesmaids
this dress and pants for F to match the bridesmaids, and a dress for herself.
And a tie for SP.
Come to think of it, where is that tie?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sweet words

SP is in rest time, singing:

Make me wise, make me wise,
So I'm pleasing in your sight.
Lord, I want to bring you glory,
So I'm asking you to make me wise

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blog Reading

I read a fair few blogs. Some by people I actually know, but many that I don't, at least not face to face. I organise them in Google Reader in subgroups.
'Family & Friends'
'Thoughtfulness' (mostly fellow Christian mums posting on a variety of topics)

I recently added another subgroup, and put it right up the top. 


At the moment, there's just 2 blogs in that category, Elevate Your Marriage and The Generous Wife. I recommend them both. And the latter includes a couple of links to similar blogs each day, which I follow more often than not. 

I've been surprised to find that our marriage feels healthy since I've added these blogs to my diet, and apparently Dave has seen the difference too. Which actually makes perfect sense. 

Any others I should add to the list?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Less for More

Less computer for more Bible & prayer time. 

Will you join in too?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Singing with tears

For me, leading the singing in church is all about story telling. My face, my voice, my emotions, pointing the congregation to the meaning of the words. I'm challenging them to switch their brains on, to think about the words they're singing. 

Today, we were telling a hard story. One of a little boy who lived only a few hours. Of a Saviour who now holds that little boy in His arms. Of the amazing faith that this boy's parents have, in a time of immeasurable hardship. 

On these occasions, my story telling must be distanced from my emotions. To allow others their tears, I keep my voice steady and my head high. 

I'll do my crying at home. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ride for Refugees

We went along to Ride for Refugees yesterday. 

Dave and a couple of other guys from church (and about 150 others) did the 25km ride. SP rode around the kids' track, about 4km in total, we think. He was complaining of sore legs in the bath last night.

So much fun for our bike-loving boy. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


SP got his first LEGO Club mailout a couple of days ago. He's too young for the magazine and wanted to know why there wasn't any actual LEGO in it, but has spent many hours looking at every detail in the LEGO city pages, and asking lots and lots of questions. 

Just like his Dad, I suspect...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Good advice

from a wise friend yesterday. 

"Don't think about having a good week, or even a good day. Look for good half-hours."

We've had several good half-hours so far today :)


On Meredith's recommendation, I've just finished reading 'Moby-Duck: the true story of 28, 800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and fools, including the author, who went in search of them.'

My kind of book. I love to learn through stories (eg. learning history through biographies), and this book taught me lots of fun stuff about the world. Read Meredith's review to find out more - she's said it better than I could. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

If you've ever wondered what I do...

I know my mum often wonders what it is I actually do.  Fair enough.  As an electronics engineer in a specialist niche of the industry, there are no bridges, buildings, cars, or other obvious examples of "I build that".  The closest I've come in the past is saying "we build black boxes that go into bigger boxes that people like Boeing put on their aircraft."

Well, last night I had the pleasure of watching "How to build: A Satellite" on SBS.  Absolutely fantastic.  Although I haven't had the privilege, many of my senior colleagues have been involved in satellite components, and there's a point halfway through that shows about as much of my sort of work as you're ever likely to see on TV.

So if you've ever wondered what it is I really do, take a look at the episode on SBS On Demand.  Season 1 Episode 3 if you're having trouble finding it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Don't tell my son your secrets

Earlier in the week, there was some spilling the beans about Dave's Fathers Day present.

Then we did some purchasing yesterday. 

So before Dave got home, I reminded SP, "Try not to tell Daddy about [specifics omitted because Dave reads this too]."

Of course, as soon as he got home, SP said, "Daddy, I'm going to try not to tell you..." 

The rest of his sentence was drowned in 'SSSSSHHHH' from both of us. 

Muffin success

"Afternoon tea" in the car.
"Entree" on the rug outside while I brought the washing in.
"Dinner" at the table, by which time he was mostly full. 

Everybody happy. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

We're having muffins for dinner tomorrow

These cheesy vegetable muffins from

I made them for afternoon tea today, in an attempt to start filling SP's hollow legs with dinner-ish goodness a little earlier, thus keeping dinner eating time to a mere hour or so and getting him to bed sooner. 

They were a big hit at afternoon tea. Then SP finished his first helping of dinner and couldn't quite believe that we were letting him have unlimited muffins for seconds. F enjoyed them too.

We'll be out a lot of tomorrow, probably getting home right on dinner time, so I made another batch and I'm hoping for the same response. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Excellent quote

Yes, there's been a lot of linkage here lately. I promised myself I'd slow down. But this one is too good.  

"...I need to remember that I am finite, not infinite, and God doesn't necessarily will that every good thing that could theoretically be done is something that is going to get done by me." Nicole Starling

From this post on Nicole's blog, 168 hours. Which I read regularly, but this was in the comments & Deb only just brought it to light. Thank you, ladies. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

F is signing

She's done "more" at a couple of meal times now. Mostly when she's desperate and thinks she's being ignored.

So proud of my girl :)

I'm yet to catch a photo of it, I'll post one when I do. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am imperfect & in need of a Saviour - even on the internet

Nicole's post from the girltalk blog will have me thinking for some time, I suspect. And censoring my blog posts & facebook updates more carefully. 

Very challenging. 


SP wants to wear underpants to bed. But he doesn't appear to be ready, and I'm not really a fan of washing all his bed linen, pillow, teddies etc every day. Thankfully we've had great drying weather the last couple of weeks. 

But we don't want to stifle SP's desire to toilet train. 

So my genius husband invented... "Under-overs"

Underpants on. Nappy on top, to catch any sneaky wees 'just in case'. 

Everybody's happy. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Every family has its own bits of weird

SP is very interested in the body at the moment. Body parts, functions, etc. 

Over breakfast this morning, we looked at the digestive and urinary tracts in my 1st year anatomy textbook. He was fascinated. 

And he's going to think that such activities are totally normal :)

I've been wondering what our next Letter of the Week might be. B is for body, I think. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012


The last hour or so, I've had Colin Buchanan's 'Generous God' stuck in my head. Mainly the bit that goes 'we should never complain, cos he blesses his children again and again.'

Too much complaining from me this afternoon. My apologies to those who were there. 

I really am very blessed. As the quote goes, "I'd rather be awake with my children than asleep without them."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Learn First Aid

Late last year, our neighbour's toddler became suddenly unconscious. He recovered quickly, but that day I resolved to update my first aid training. 

Then F had her little incident, and it moved up my priority list. 

I was pleased to find that the Queensland Ambulance Service now offers e-Learning courses. A pre-course DVD, then 2.5 hours to do the practical component. I did my Apply First Aid practical this morning. 

I came away convinced that I should spread the word. First Aid really does save lives. And the life you save is most likely to be someone you love.

It's not costly either. If you don't need a certificate, basic CPR training from QAS starts at just $29.95. 

I pray that I won't need my first aid knowledge any time soon. But I'm much more confident now that someone I love is ill or injured, I would know how to help them. 

Would you?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The myth of 'done'

I love to cross tasks off my list. It makes me feel like I'm getting somewhere. But I've been repeatedly reminded recently that my tasks will never be all done, there is no 'finish line', at least not until heaven. Pretty much everything I do in a day will need to be done again sometime. 

In that vein, this post by Rachel Jankovic may have just revolutionised my life. Here's a taster. 
One of the biggest personal lessons I have learned in housekeeping and child raising is that “done” is a total myth. The more I have adapted to that understanding the better. The more I embrace a lot of my daily work as a cycle that goes on and on instead of discrete tasks that need to be completed, the better. Not only does it relieve a lot of tension surrounding what you are trying to do in a day, but it actually gets much better results. 
I've also enjoyed Rachel's book, Loving the Little Years. A quick read with much food for thought, both for now and as our kids get older. Highly recommended.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Photo update - June, July, bit of August

It's been a while again. Here's a few pics from recently.

Another link

Seems I'm doing more reading than original thinking at the moment. Sometimes it's just like that. 

I'm encouraged by Dear Stay at Home Mom

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Helpful Quote

Persecution, disease, war, disability, disaster, freak accident, assault — all are alike in this: Satan aims to destroy your faith, but God aims to strengthen it.

From John Piper, via Desiring God via Meredith's blog.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jane the Same

Note to self: when telling a really ridiculous story in Church4Kids, don't make eye contact with the other leaders. 

I was fine when Jane the Same delayed arriving at a party to change her dress, then cut her hair, then put on purple lipstick, just because that's what her friends were doing. 

But when she put on her blue eyelashes, I lost it for a little bit. 

Sorry kids. The laughter wasn't in the script. 

Any guesses on the story we were leading into?

Chime bar cake

Poor SP became ill during church this morning, but brightened up for presents, spiral bolognese lunch & chime bar birthday cake. 

And apart from the cachous & jubes, the whole thing is fructose free :)

Please pray that I would stay healthy. Dave is finally on the mend, SP went downhill pretty quickly today & F seems to have a touch of it too. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SP turns 3

SP is 3 today! He's hardly been off his balance bike all morning :)

No party this year, but a non-novelty cake at playgroup tomorrow and a chime bar cake at family lunch on Sunday. 

We are so blessed to have our boy. 

Monday, July 30, 2012


Deb is doing a series of posts about her experiences sponsoring children with Compassion International. 

Really good stuff so far. Have a read. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I've been repeatedly challenged by this article from Desiring God since reading it a few weeks ago.

But tonight I was encouraged by it. As I squinted in the half-darkness to sponge vomit out of SP's carpet, there was joy and satisfaction in knowing that right then, in that moment, I was doing exactly what God has called me to do. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Masterchef Finale

1 hour to go. I've had it muted while I work on church4kids stuff. I wanted to get another module in my first aid course done tonight too. But the sound is now on and less and less work is getting done...

Do you have email apnea?

I've just corrected my posture and taken some deep breaths.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Children are precious

Since F was about 6 weeks old, I've been donating some extra breast milk to some multiples. 

One of them died last week. 

I've never met the babies, or their parents, although I chatted to the mum on the phone a few months ago. 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fire Safety

We had the fire truck visit playgroup this morning. Big success.

SP brought home a Fire Safety Activity Book, and one of the activities is to draw a home escape plan. He's quite keen on this idea. 

I'm thinking that if we're going to draw an escape plan, we might as well add on a fire drill. We'll all pretend to be asleep in our beds and set the smoke alarm off. 

Not certain what to teach SP to do next though. There are two doors to his room, and the most frequently-used one leads straight to the kitchen, where I guess I fire would often start, but also leads to the back door. 

So we're thinking of telling him to get down onto the floor and listen for instructions. Then Daddy will come and get him and they'll 'Get down low and go, go, go!"

Have you ever done a fire drill with your kids? What did you teach them?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't be a whingey Israelite

We're studying Deuteronomy at church this term. Bible study on chapters 1-3 this morning. 'Do not fear but trust in God'. 

At the end of the study, we were challenged to think of something to say to ourselves to drive out our fear during the week. I'm focusing in on this verse: 

They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’” Deuteronomy 1:28

This is Moses quoting the Israelites in their reluctance to trust God & enter the promised land. Can't you hear the whinge? 

But how often do I sound like a whingey Israelite, if only in my head? 

No need to fear. God has secured my safety in eternity, and he's in control of everything that happens between now and then. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

I think F is playing peek-a-boo with herself

She's on her tummy in front of the full-length mirror. She keeps dropping her head down to one side then lifting herself up and laughing at her reflection. 

Very cute :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

So that's what the inside of an ambulance feels like...

Before you get too concerned, we're all fine. Here's what happened:

F's highchair tipped over sideways as we were getting ready for lunch. With her in it. SP was the source of movement, but it wasn't intentional. 

So thankful for our little wooden house with its lino-covered wooden floor. Tiles on concrete would have been so much worse.

As it was, she was crying immediately, then going a bit floppy a minute later, so I called the ambulance. SP was so good, trying to be helpful, watching for the ambulance. So was our postie, who happened to be passing. A few scary minutes waiting for the sirens, but once she saw the unfamiliar people she brightened up and cried nicely :)

A few hours wait in emergency and short stay units for observations, and we were home for a slightly late bath time. Both kids now in bed asleep. SP will have lots of questions in the next few days I suspect. But he'll also know how to dial 000. And it's no worse than happened to his dad and aunty thirty years ago...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kids really do take notice

Recently I've been trying to work more efficiently around the house. And I think it's been working. Things feel more under control. 

After SP finished assembling his sandwich today, he took off his jacket and I reminded him to take it to his room. He said, "While I'm putting my jacket away, I'll just take my plate to my place."

I didn't even realise I'd been saying it out loud...


I've been fructose free for over a year. And loved it. I feel healthy, my eczema has cleared up, and I find it much easier to say 'no' to all sugar than 'yes' to only one portion. 

But the last month or so I've slipped. Bits and pieces here and there that 'won't matter that much'. Then I started eating the sweet stuff at church morning teas, rather than skipping to the fruit & savouries. And discovered that I'm still hopeless at stopping at one piece. 

So here's my recommitment. Back to it. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Working Together

We have family friends around this week, on holidays from down south. They and Mum spent the day with us today.

We had a fun morning together at the park, then once SP was in rest time and F asleep, I benefited from some extra household help. There we were, three women working away on simple household things, together and separately. There was a peacefulness, a camaraderie that struck me. 

I wonder if that's what life was like in the multi-generational households of yesteryear?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Care & Feeding

"I will look after F. She needs a big brother to look after her. She doesn't need a Mummy or a Daddy or a Grandma. I'm her big brother."

Sounds like I can take a break :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Dave's working late tonight. 

I've just spent a happy half hour looking over old blog posts. 

God really is good to us. 

Monday, June 25, 2012


I'm not a great conversationalist. I know this. Some people seem to have the gift of it (my dad, for instance), but I find it difficult. 

Still, I try hard to talk to new people at church. Since Dave coordinates the music, we're usually among the first few to arrive. And visitors often arrive earlier than regulars. So if I don't have a specific job keeping me busy, introducing myself to newcomers has become a habit. 

I'm still not good at it. But I'm getting better, and I figure most people would rather have a short and awkward conversation than sit by themselves for half an hour. And having a cute baby in my arms is certainly helpful. 

But as I was lying awake last night, thinking of church that morning, I was challenged to do more. Yes, it's good to chat to people, to put them at their ease, to find out about them. But it would be so much better to turn their thoughts to Jesus. 

That's the bit I find REALLY hard. Talking to kids about Jesus? No problem. Talking to adults, even a stranger who may be a Christian already, or very receptive to the gospel? Yikes.

Maybe I need to find a good opening question for after we've done the initial introductions. Something with 'Jesus' in it, not just 'church'. Suggestions?

Friday, June 22, 2012

6 months old today

Could somebody tell me where that time went?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A timely reminder

I think I need to read a post like this about once a week. 

So I'm going to stop looking at blogs and facebook and head towards bed so I have more energy to read my bible in the morning. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Times Tables

I did pretty well in maths at school, but my 7 & 8 times tables have always been very iffy. I blame it on changing schools between year 3 & 4 - my old school hadn't done them yet and my new school had, so I never took the time to learn them properly.

But I think my issues with 8s may just have been solved with this Right Brain Math trick, thanks to the Planning with Kids blog. 

And now that I've posted the link here I may have some hope of finding it for SP & F in a few years time. I wonder what youtube will look like by then?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cooking from someone else's pantry

We don't generally buy recipe bases, bottled sauces, canned baked beans etc etc. Somehow when we got married they never went on the shopping list, and we consciously stay away now as they often contain more sugar than I want to eat on a regular basis. 

In the last few days, I've discovered an interesting phenomenon: if they're there in the cupboard, I can't seem to find anything to cook that doesn't involve them. 
We've had chicken & veg with packet risotto, baked beans & mash, and today pasta with mince & bottled sauce. 


Sunday, June 10, 2012


Little kids have a lot to process, and sometimes it can be a lot of fun to watch.  Like tonight after I put SP to bed.  About 5 minutes later I hear him talking to Mike (a bear); first in a cherubic voice "daddy, I want to go to kindy", the immediately followed with a deep (for him) bass "no, you can't, you're too little.  No, you're too little."

And then 10 minutes after that, again in conversation with Mike "I have to obey you Mike.  Daddy has to obey me, and you, and Nana, and..."  Crumbs, I don't know what I did to deserve that much oversight!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bed is calling

Clean sheets. 
New doona, doona cover & pillow cases. 

I've been waiting for this all day.

Here's hoping our poor snuffly little girl lets me spend a little more time there than I did last night...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Little encouraging moments

Sometimes life gets busy, and you (OK, I) find that the things I want to do are shunted to one side to make way for things that for one reason or another I need to do.  Case in point was last Wednesday night.  Wednesday is Bible Study evening for me, and I benefit a lot from getting together with other Christian guys for a couple of hours to study the Word, or even just to have a BBQ and watch the football, as tends to happen at this time of year...

Anyway, last Wednesday I was also playing host to a guest lecturer from overseas.  Different technical societies with the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) pick a few lecturers each year who are not just experts in a topic, but can also communicate what they know to non-experts.  The Queensland chapter had joined up with others around Australia to have this particular lecturer flown out for a couple of weeks, and the travel schedule worked out that he was in Brisbane to speak on Wednesday.  To the IEEE, these guys (and girls) are a big deal, so it's important to look after them.

So, after a lecture at QUT, like a good host, I offered to take him over to Southbank for dinner.  After eventually finding a restaurant that wasn't too spicy, closed after last year's floods, or closing early that night because of low patronage, we eventually found somewhere to have dinner.  At this point my heart wasn't really in it - I was feeling like it would have been a much better use of my time to have left at the end of the lecture and arrived a little bit late at Bible study.

But we sat down, picked from the menu, and had a look at some more technical stuff while we waited.  When the food arrived, the first thing he says is "excuse me while I pray."  Now coming from Asia I wasn't sure if buddhists or hindus prayed before meals, but after a minute or two I asked "so you're a Christian?"  He was, and the rest of the evening turned into a much more encouraging conversation about faith, what heaven would be like (he'd read a couple of books of the "near death experience" variety), and things like that.  On the walk back to QUT we even stopped to pray for each other.

Isn't God great - taking an evening that could have been quite boring, and was looking like a lost opportunity for fellowship with other Christians, and turning it around completely like that!