11 September 2014

Growing Up

Time sure is flying here at the Just Ordinary Us homestead. (I wish we had a homestead.) My littlest guy just turned one (what?!?), my curly guy turned three and started kindy with his big sister, and before you know it, we're having to make plans for Christmas! (Yes, I said it!)

So the other day, in the spirit of embracing the moment and getting out of my grumpy fug (where I've been spending A LOT of time lately...), we threw the usual post-school routine of afternoon tea, DVD and homework out the window and went out into the sunshine. We had a snack on the deck and pulled out all the bikes and had a great time soaking up the fresh air and warm sunlight. Just what we all needed. I grabbed my oft-neglected camera and snapped away and I'm so glad I captured a fun afternoon playing together.

My babies are just growing up so fast. Yes, these pre-school years are often filled with crazy, and certainly hustle and bustle, but oh my word am I going to miss them when they're gone!

Despite the mayhem, I LOVE this life. I love that I have my babies and my babies have me. (And their Papa, of course.) I deliberately choose to enjoy this time - sure, not every moment, because who can enjoy diarrhea in nappies and vomiting babies etc etc, am I right? - because I know that I will look back on it as one of the best times in our lives. I'm not going to waste that.

21 August 2014

The Baby Is One

Today we say happy birthday to our dear little darling Gryffen. One whole year old. Oh, how it has flown!

Gryffen is the sweetest little boy, full of snuggles and shy smiles. He is also very precocious; doing everything at an earlier stage than any of his siblings. He rolled at two months, crawled at five, got his first teeth at six, stood at nine and now at twelve months he has perfected the art of climbing out of his highchair - buckled and all! It won't be too long before he begins to walk, then runs off and gets into mischief with his cheeky little-big-brother Tristan.

Gryffen is an absolute delight, and I have enjoyed every minute of this first year with him. What a treasure he is. I love to see the bigger kids with him; their bonds are really something special.

So happiest of birthdays to my sweet, bright-eyed little boy. You are a joy to me.


25 July 2014

So Soon!

Bit of a change, huh?

Can you believe it? In only TWO WEEKS (!!!) my birth-mother B and I will be re-united after 28 years!

It's strange to think that I've already met her - only a newborn baby's memory is not so strong!

Over the years I had hoped that when I met her I'd be thin and beautiful and she'd be so proud of this beautiful girl. I'm glad I don't hold this so strongly anymore - though I do wish I was slightly less un-thin! (Nothing I can do about that in only 2 weeks!) I guess with something as momentous as this, I can't help but be a little self-conscious.

At least I'll have a tidy house, B! Two weeks is long enough to do THAT. ;)

If you ask me how I'm feeling you'll probably get a puzzled look in response, as I'm feeling a lot of things! Mostly excited. Very excited! Quite a bit emotional.

Twenty eight years is long time.

13 June 2014

Happy 6th Birthday

This beautiful boy turned six today.

What a joy it is to see him grow and mature. He is becoming a fine little man. The progress he's made over the last year has been pretty cool to watch.

A tiny little newborn, six years ago

Elliot, my boy, I don't have many words this year (we can blame that on having all of us been sick for the last week) but I do hope you know how special you are. You are an incredible child, and I look forward to seeing who you grow up to be.

All my love, always,

04 June 2014

These Two

A sister and her little brother. A brother and his big sister. These two have a very sweet bond.

I hope I never forget the way she would hold her newborn brother and just sit so quietly and so still. The way she watches for him and gets down on the floor to play with him. I hope I never forget the way his face lights up when he catches sight of her. The way he reaches out for her hand in the car.

I hope they never do either.

22 May 2014

One Year At School

Can you believe Elliot has been at school for a whole year already?! I took these photos exactly a year apart: 6 May, 2013, and 6 May, 2014. Look how much he grew!

I'm proud of this boy. He has come such a long way since starting school as an almost-five year old last year.

12 May 2014

Babies Don't Keep

This boy is such a treasure. In just a few short months, Gryffen will be one whole year old and we will begin to leave babyhood behind. I have cherished all my babies, but this little one a bit more so as I have bittersweet-ly (that's a word, right?) come to realise just how quickly these snuggly, sweet-smelling times are passed by.

I'm so glad I've finally worked my priorities out right in time to enjoy it properly.

Song for A Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulbert 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 hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't [his] eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But 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.

* * *

I have that last stanza printed and hung on the wall in Gryffen's room. Every time I walk into his room with him I read it and stand a bit longer with him in my arms before I put him down into his bed. I've said it before and I'll say it again: these really are 'the good old days.' And I love them so much.

28 April 2014

Summer: Rosie's 4th Birthday

Another post from our summer that I'm finally getting around to catching up on the blog: Rosie turned four!

My beautiful daughter has grown so much - kids have a habit of doing that, huh? I think the change between three and four is quite remarkable. Toddlerhood is left behind and Childhood comes to the fore. My Rosie is growing into quite the little lady.

We had a lovely day celebrating with family. Rosie is a very shy wee thing, so even though she loves her family the most, she still tries to hide behind me when she knows we're all looking at her - like singing happy birthday and unwrapping presents. Most of those photos of all her birthdays so far have her burying her face into my neck. Sweet, funny little girl.

Lucky Rosie got to enjoy having her Auntie Sarah here, all the way from London! She enjoyed opening up her present from the other side of the world!

Rosie's favourite animal is a hippo, so we decided on a pink hippo cake - because although I'd like to do a whole themed party with lovely decorations and other theme-y things, I know that ain't gonna happen! Thankfully, she was super-impressed with her cake!

From her Poppa (my Dad), Rosie started a lovely collection of Sylvanian Family toys. I had a little house when I was a girl which I had passed on to Rosie so we decided to fill it up with a new family and some furniture. It's so sweet! There's something about miniature things that I just love. She plays for hours with it, sitting quietly at the table. (Until she screams at one of her brothers to get away before they ruin it. That's not so peaceful.)

Rosie-girl, you are a lovely ray of pink sunshine in our family. You are sweet and shy and mostly enjoy playing by yourself, but you can run a great game by bossing your brothers around! You love to be surrounded by your family and you always make sure that everyone is happy and safe. You have a really special bond with Gryffen and never like to go to kindy in the morning until you've said goodbye to him, even if he's not awake yet. You are very tall and your blonde hair has a lovely gentle curl, though you hate it when I brush it, even though I try to be gentle. You absorb everything around you, often spouting spelling words and maths sums to surprise me with your knowledge! I think you are an empathetic little soul, having a deep sense of emotions for yourself and others. Not that that means you are always the embodiment of patience and kindness, but that I see you have an awareness of feelings. We just need to work on the way you express them, my little wildcat.

I feel so blessed to have you as a daughter, my Rosie. You bring such a wonderful dynamic into our family. And how spoiled will you be with three brothers to protect you one day?! Your Papa and I pray for another fun-filled, joyful year of growing and learning with you. We pray that He would make Himself known to you and that your heart would always be Spirit-filled. We love you, my girl.

15 April 2014

One Year Ago...

Today marks the day that, one year ago, Hayden came off his bike on the road on the way to school, ending up with a serious concussion and a smashed up face.

What a year we had. It was certainly a tough one - though there was the highlight of gorgeous Gryffen's arrival into our family. I am thankful that amid the hard slog of dragging my family through a concussion recovery and newborn arrival, I can testify to God's grace as He carried us through. I learned a lot last year and am really thankful for the lessons I learned as we muddled through.

Utmost is a sense of gratitude for my little family. How close we came to being fatherless! You just never know what's around the corner do you? Family time is very precious.

I have learned to be uber-productive. For quite a few months I was it: Chief Job-Doer. Everything that needed to be done needed to be done by me. Throw a few kids in the mix and I became excellent at getting ALL THE THINGS done in small snippets of time. I'm sure I do more with my time now than I ever did when I only had one or two children!

As I read back over all my blog posts from the time of Hayden's accident, I am reminded of how much I was blessed by being able to keep a positive attitude. It was a hard time, but I was able to see God's hand in the ways we were looked after and taken care of by Him and by the hands of those around us. We were given meals and treats, the kids were looked after, Elliot was taken to and from school, the ACC we really helpful, and school (Hayden's work) were incredibly supportive of both Hayden and me. I learned that our people, our community, are one of the biggest blessings in our lives. I had thought I already knew that, but to see everyone in action was both humbling and incredible.

One year later, we only have small reminders of Hayden's concussion: a positively disgusting scar on his chin (thankfully hidden mostly by his beard), a small one above his eye, a couple on his hands and arms, a few moments of forgetfulness, an occasional tendency to get overwhelmed in busy situations. We don't know if those last ones will be with Hayden forever, or if they will fade away over the next year or two.

Overall, it's very good to have last year behind us. I'm glad to have had it and for the lessons we learned, but I'll take a simple year now please! And yes, Hayden does still ride his bike - and I do tell him more often to be careful.