Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bursting

I am in such a happy place right now.  Seriously happy.

Bursting with love.  Bursting with happiness.

Rainbows, fairies on toadstools and unicorns.

All kinds of happy.

Everything is just "right" at the moment.

Sure... I could complain.  About a lot.  About things.

But I don't.

I am happy.  Heart beating loudly in my chest.  Happy.

I catch myself in a happy moment and smile.

I have an obsession with the beautiful skies at the moment.  Always watching the sunsetting.  Even if it is in the car, while I am driving, on my way home.



Throw me some more fairy dust.

I don't want to stop flying.



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Monday, May 28, 2012

The $100 Clothing Challenge

One of the most frequently asked question I get is "How do you afford a large family?" By shopping smartly.  Clothes shopping doesn't have to cost a fortune!  And I am off to Big W to prove it. 

Brett handed me a 100 Dollar Note and the conversation went like this:

Me: "What is this for?   Ooh... can I go shopping?  A pair of new shoes!?"
Brett  "You can get yourself a new pair of shoes.... or I challenge you to get all FIVE of the Reasons an outfit each"
Me: "One outfit each?"
Brett: "Yes"
Me:  "You don't think I can do it!"
Brett: "No, you would rather buy a pair of shoes."
Me:  "Well...yes, but I like your challenge, however what is in it for me? A new pair of shoes if I succeed?"
Brett:  "Forget the shoes... you have enough shoes"
Me:  "A girl can never have enough shoes... but I will accept your challenge".

What have I done?  For a moment I didn't think I could do it.  I headed into BigW with $100 note in hand.

Brett took 4 of the Reasons to the toy section while I started in the boys section with Hayden.  He scoured the clothing racks for something that took his eye.  We found a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt.  Easy!

Joshua had already told me that he wanted a pair of black skinny jeans.  I had told him not to get his hopes up and that he might have to be happy with a blue pair.  But I found him some black skinny jeans and picked up Oliver the matching pair.  He then spotted a shirt that he had to have.  I smiled and told him to put it in the trolly.

I was really happy to see that most of BigW's range have adjustable waists.  A must in our house.

I found a shirt for Oliver - and at the price they were, I went back after the challenge and bought him another 3!



The girls took longer.  So many options!

Lucy scoured the racks finding item after item that she just had to have.  She found a pair of Jeans that she loved and finally chose a shirt.



I then headed to the Babywear Section.  I spotted some pink "jeggings" a mile away and knew I had to have them for Camille.  I found something to match and was excited that it was actually a dress - TWO outfits in one!

BigW have loads of winter essentials... cheap as chips.  Which means that you can get one in every colour.  These long sleeve shirts are great to wear as an extra layer under any item of clothing.  Throwing one under a t-shirt is great for Autumn and Spring.




Can you spot the $4.74 "Wintersuits?".  Great for babies to sleep in.  
So many great buys in the Babywear section.

Check out this stash of clothes Lucy compiled. 



Total amount for this stash of 8 items?  $75.65.  This includes the thick puffy Jacket ($15.  Seriously!)


So, what was my final tally for the $100 challenge?  Are you ready?


Hayden wearing $9 jeans (yes, that is not a typo) 
and a $5.84 Long Sleeve Shirt.
Total Cost $14.84
Lucy wearing her $9 Jeans and a Tee with Lace $11.84
Total Cost $20.84
Joshua sporting his Black Skinny Jeans $14.88
And his $4.48 Mum Tee
Total Cost $19.36
Oliver loves his Black Skinny Jeans $14.88
and his Letter Tee $4.48
Total Cost $19.36
Finally Camille models her Pink Jeggins $10
and her Striped Knit Dress $15
Total Cost $25

Total cost to deck the Five Little Reasons out $99.40

I am so happy with BigW's range and prices.  And the quality is wonderful.  I challenge you to head into BigW and check out their range.

Brett.  Challenge complete!  Now... where are my shoes?



Sponsored by BigW as per my Disclosure Policy

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Five Little Reasons and a Football Game.

When we were given tickets to see the Gold Coast Suns play Port Adelaide, Brett suggested we just take the big 3 Little Reasons.

I disagreed thinking that it would be a great day out as a family.  We had 7 tickets, so seating wasn't a problem.  And let's face it.  It was a football game.  I was happy to leave the seats and wander the grounds with the babies if needed.

We packed up some food, water and jackets and drove to our local train station.  The tickets included free public transport - and you know me, I like to do the whole deal.  Experience the whole adventure.

As we walked from the car up to the platform, Brett told the Reasons the rules.  Don't walk too far ahead. No running.

Just B E H A V E!

Standing on the platform scared me.  Five children.  Two adults.  Major drop OFF the platform.  FAST trains.  I had a slight panic attack.

As I held Camille in the Baby Bjorn and Oliver by the neck of his jacket, the 3 Big Reasons stood quietly, arguing about who was going to push the button to open the door.  I snapped at them as they pushed and shoved to be the "leader".  I envisioned being on the News because a child had fallen in front of a train.   I cry just thinking about it.

The train came to a stop and we boarded a relatively empty train.  I settled the fighting over who was siting where.  "I wanted a window seat".  "I want to sit next to Daddy".  "I want to sit on the other side".

FFS just sit down and shut up!  Already my patience was wearing and we had only just begun!




We arrived at the station and followed the herd.  Every 30 seconds I was counting heads.  We boarded the bus to take us to the Stadium.  It was full and we had to stand.  That wasn't a problem, until Joshua decided he wanted to bus surf and not hold on consequently falling on Brett who nearly landed in an old couples lap!

The bus arrived right at the Stadium's gates.  Thankfully we were early so there wasn't many people there.   I got Camille out of the Baby Bjorn and we slowly walked around taking it all in.  The Five Little Reasons were handed balloons and posters and were very excited.

All I kept thinking was "Thank you sir... for yet another thing for me to eventually have to carry, or confiscate, or deal with tears because it has popped!"  ::sigh::




We made our way up to our seats and the excitement was still lingering.  Brett sat with the big boys while I took Lucy, Camille and Oliver down to "explore".  The "playground" was fun, but Camille was getting tired and Oliver was not big enough to enjoy it.




I headed back up to our seats and tag teamed Brett.  He took the boys down to the playground while I sat with the other 3.  Brett made it back just in time for the start of the game.



Camille continued to grizzle and fidget on my lap.  Lucy complained about the sun.  Joshua wanted to run off and see all the friends from school that he kept spotting.  Hayden sat quietly... but not watching the game.



In the 2.5 hour time span of the game... I estimate we watched a combined total of 20 minutes.

"I'm hungry."  "I'm thirsty."  "I want to go to the toilet."  "The sun is in my eyes."  "That's MY balloon."

All of these said with a high pitched, whiney toned voice.

"I told you to Sit Down."  "OYE! Don't climb the chair."  "Oliver come back!"  "No... I am not buying anymore food!"

All of these said with a high pitched, whiney toned voice.


WHY AM I DOING THIS?  THIS IS TORTURE!!!

Obviously, our kids don't watch football.  They don't know the game.  And let's face it.  2.5 plus hours is A LONG TIME!

So, just before the 3rd quarters end, we started heading down the stairs.  We walked slowly to the front of the stadium to the "practice field" which, evidently, was filled with all the other "bored" and restless children.  I watched the little 2 run around while Brett kicked the football with the others.

Finally it was time to go, and we headed back to the bus station.  Camille whinged the whole time... clearly ready to fall asleep.  I felt the moment that she fell asleep by the dead weight she now became.


I looked at Brett with an "I'm sorry. You were right" look.  We slowly walked to the car.  It was clear that we were both exhausted.  

Five Little Reasons and a football game just don't mix.

But we can strike it off our "Adventure" list.

Joshua and the Prep J class Rino "Raymond".  







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Monday, May 21, 2012

A Family Day.

Brett and I decided last night that we would keep the big 3 home from school today and have a "Family Day".  The past few weeks have been hectic, draining and lacking in quality time together.  Brett works weekends.  He also works all public holidays.

Family time is sacred and rare.

We felt we needed a slow paced family day.

We walked slowly and consciously told the Reason's how much we loved them.  I particularly spent some time with Hayden today.  Talking, laughing and remembering.

I took time today to look at him.  Really look at him.  He is growing into such a wonderful young man.  He will be 10 this year.  TEN!  I can't believe it.  When did he get so grown up?




We needed today.

We really needed today.







I posted on Facebook this morning, asking if you ever let your children take a day off school for no reason.  Some of you felt very strongly about children not taking days off school unless they were sick.  And I do agree.

The Five Little Reasons never have a day off from school.  They all have a near perfect attendance record.

But we needed today.

And it was good.




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

{How We} Organising Homework Time

Like most mums, I dread homework time.  At least one of ours consistently protests and tears are a frequent visitor.

I try to make homework time as peaceful as I can.  Have activities for the little ones and other FUN educational activities for the big ones when they are just being stubborn.

I don't fight it.

Most of the time.


This is the kids computer.  In the kitchen area.  In full view.  You can see our green homework caddy on the top.  The grey box on the side is where the homework folders live.  The routine is that the kids hang up their bags {see our School Launch Pad}, take off their shoes, put their lunch boxes in the kitchen and their homework folders in this box.  Our school finishes at 2.30pm and we usually do homework between 3.30-4.30pm.  This gives the Five Little Reasons time to have some afternoon tea and chat to me about their day.


We all sit together to do homework.  We have a big box of "homework" activities.  These are generally for the little ones, however if a child gets stuck or upset about a homework task, they are permitted to spend 5 minutes on a "homework box" activity.  They also have the option of doing some of their online homework before coming back to have another go and their homework task.


This is our homework caddy.  Everything they need is in here.  Sissors, glue, pencils, crayons, coloured pencils, sharpeners.  Gone are the days of them using "But I can't find..." as a stalling tactic.

This set was about $15 from Ikea, and is actually made for pot plants.


Some of our favourite "homework" activities include:

Balancing Game, Number Blocks and Link-its

Threading & Fishing Game

Peg boards are a wonderful way to encourage fine motor skills, 
along with counting and colour recognition.

Hammer Boards



I think that Homework is important, however if it turns into a fighting, horrible experience, then it just isn't worth it.  Find a fun way to do homework.  Make it a game.  Sometimes I tell Hayden that he is an agent from the HTA (Homework Terrorist Association) and that there is a threat to our national security.  They are going to set a weapon of mass distraction and he must stop them by solving the problem.  I break each task down and each task is a mission.

His reward at the end is to tell the story back to me  - reading the tasks he had to complete to disable the bombs!

Sometimes this works... sometimes it doesn't.

The key is to pick your battles.

Is homework a chore in your house?  How do you "do" homework?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Days


The days have dropped in temperature.  And even though I knew it was coming, it was a shock.  As I finish the summer/winter changeovers around the house, the two little ones play quietly together.

I watch from a distance, listening to their toddler talk about tea and biscuits.  My heart melts.  They love each other with such deep, unconditional love.  Something that I pray they will have forever.






As Autumn comes to a close and Winter hovers at the doorway there is a sense of closeness in the house.  Snuggles become more frequent.  We share more stories.  We drink more tea.
 



The days are happy.


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