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iSonto #49

This week we are thankful for the fun morning we spent creating little pictures for our doll house, "framing" them with paper and laminating them.

It was one of those rare times where an activity with my children actually happened in the pleasant way I imagined it!

Elnathan was always eager to watch Daddy go in the morning.

 Mercy was happy to dress up Bill as, apparently, a "stripy elephant".

Bill was moving further! It was so cute when he crawled out the door.

One memory verse we practiced was "Be kind to one another" Ephesians 4:32.

From garden to tummies . . . the first broad beans in a risotto.

A book we enjoyed together was "Things People Do", part of our Sonlight P 4/5 Curriculum. You know that you're onto a good thing when the children keep bringing the book to the dinner table to show Daddy what they learned!

Encouragement, ideas and inspiration came from the Girltalk blog. A post about the kind of young women the church needs was perfect tonight as I've been thinking over the need to embrace rather than resent the massive learning curve that is raising little children. There are so many great posts on this blog I've been perusing the archives in the few spare moments over the past two weeks.

One funny moment was seeing the children with their massive pieces of cake at a friend's party! Three layers for three years of life. Each child started pleading for a different bit of the bird decoration . . . please may I eat the tail, the feet, the beak, etc. It was the most perfect afternoon garden party.


iSonto #48: cubby progress, bye to Gramps, and spider families

This week we are thankful for the progress Dave made on the cubby, and the little people darting through it.

We had some last happy days with Dave's Dad before he left for Queensland. Here he is with his namesake baby William.

We heard a good sermon this morning on the necessity of us all receiving wisdom and instruction and discipline.

Elnathan was full of enthusiasm for "the spider family" under the house. He and Mercy often visited their "house" for parties.

Mercy was was calling herself "Missing Crown Affair" this week, after reading the book with me a few times.

Bill was starting to teethe and cry more. He also now crawls, sits up, and rolls, learning these skills quickly in the last couple of weeks. Here he is with "Fred". Gran Gran gave Fred to the children during her visit, which we all enjoyed.

From garden to tummies . . .

Lettuce and spinach for Gramps' last dinner with us.

 A book we enjoyed together "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie" by May Gibbs.

One memory verse was "May my prayers be set before you like incense" from the Songs for Saplings ABC.

Encouragement, ideas and inspiration came from "When I Don't Desire God by John Piper.

One funny moment was Elnathan informing us very seriously that if we had three children we would have to move house, because otherwise the beds would not fit, we would have to put one in the living room, and climb over it to get to the bathroom.


iSonto #47, for old times sake.

It is nearly a year since my last iSonto post!

We are thankful for the gift of a Thermomix, courtesy of anonymous donor A.D.Mirer . . . we have our guesses, but no admissions on the part of a key suspect. This machine is proving useful for soups, curries, porridge and more.

More on the thanks list includes Gramps visiting from South Africa, a warm day, spring leaves, a preschool curriculum we enjoy, and learning the power of 5 minute tidy ups every hour.

  Elnathan was counting with beads. I love having little things like this around the house!

Mercy was always happy to go on an outing. I think we have the cutest back seat these days!

Billy was continuing his career as a dream baby. 8 months yesterday and a delight to us all.

One memory verse was "you shall not lie" Exodus 20: 16. We are still repeating the last iSonto's memory verse about pleasant words a lot . . . and it is still one of our main challenges! Any tips would be appreciated :)!

From garden to tummies . . .

Silverbeet and spinach.

A book we enjoyed together was "The Baby on The Way", a sweet library book about an African American 10th child.

Encouragement, ideas and inspiration came from "Large Family Logistics" by Kim Brenneman, a wonderful book for families of any size, even smallish ones like us! I have found this book invaluable in getting our busy little household more under control.

One funny moment was Billy laughing at Nate pressing on his tummy.


Daily Gifts #3

"Whatever things are lovely . . . think on these things" Philippians 4:9 

* Nate's prayer: "Thank you God that I love Billy, thank you that he is such a sweet little baby". The picture above is of Bill in Nate's "car" made from cushions with the baby gym as a windscreen.

* Nate creating "machines" out of puzzle shapes.

* Lifting my head to see baby looking at me intently with a huge sunbeam smile

* Baby's dummy (pacifier) prevents short naps.

* Dave exclaiming often about what a pure gift Bill is to us.

* Reading Randy Alcorn's Heaven and realising that God will fulfill our godly dreams in eternity, if not now.


Daily gifts: cubbies everywhere, dummy victories, and more!

* Nate did not wake us at all the night after giving up his dummy!
* Nate eagerly putting on his shoes to take his dummy to the outdoor bin after being promised a toy store trip in exchange!

* Mercy reading the Bible to Billy (who has a funny habit of sticking out his tongue)
* Nate showing Billy his colours using different objects "look Bill, this is red" etc.

* Enthusiastic tiny people finding cubbies in the fern corner and under their outdoor table. Our yard is still for them an adventure. 

* Nate: "We are having  a very exciting day, we posted three letters and now we are going to the park". Walks to the post box and park from our house are rare for us this year. This walk went perfectly, with the two children holding onto the pram all the way there and back.


Daily Gifts

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

* Dave's progress on making a cubby house out of the old wood from our dismantled deck. Here are the three children sitting on the floor.

 * Sunshine in the back yard making an unseasonably warm winter's day, perfect for Elnathan creating "boats" . . .

 . . . and "train tracks"!

* Chances to simply hold baby softness and feel him breath

* Mercy "I was in the house when Nate was a baby. I moved in."

* Four nights of being able to stay in bed for 8 +  hours, coming at just the right time when Dave's workload culminates.

Daily Gifts is a new weekly post I am planning, to express some of the undeserved joys we receive from God.


Reflections on our days with one child

 Last year a friend asked me this question:  "I was wondering if
you had your time over what you would have enjoyed more or done
differently when you only had one child." Here is my answer.

In the short space of time in which I had only one child, I am glad that I  . . .

* Always aimed to "redeem the time", knowing that future days could be much busier. I did this even before the second pregnancy when Elnathan was nine months old, but especially afterwards!

* Mainly devoted nap times to things like education research and completing craft projects, or to necessary rest and cleaning. God is kind to many of us as mothers in gradually removing that time for personal pursuits. It seems like a luxury now that I used to set aside half an hour a day, at a set time during a nap, to email/blogging/ necessary Internet activities like paying bills. However, at the time that was actually a way of "redeeming the time" through limiting Internet use to that time. It seems like even more of a luxury that I used to have an uninterrupted hour or so to work on quilts. However, now when I look around the house I am extremely grateful to have these projects completed and adorning the home. It really lifts the spirits to see their colourful beauty. Our goal must be to love God and love others with whatever time and resources we have available, and I did that to the best of my ability at that time.

* Established a flexible routine for Nate that was invaluable when Mercy came, including room time, nap, and DVD time.

* Always allowed him lots of freedom outdoors to touch the dirt or inspect garden veggies after they were picked, or roam the house.

My regrets from this one child stage include . . .

* Comparing myself with other mothers and getting upset because they could do more physically, or do things faster, or feeling guilty because I had more time free for non-essentials. As you know, chronic pain limits how much I can lift my child, clean the house, and much more! So comparisons were foolish. I am still trying to gain the skill of learning from others, and their example, without comparing myself to them. I think it is important not to compare ourselves to other mothers, but to rather seek to use our situation to the glory of God. Sometimes Mums say "you only have time for that because you have x number of children, or your children are x age". The truth is that our circumstances are all so different that it is hard to compare! It is not wise to try (see  2 Corinthians 10:12). A Mum with only one difficult baby may have less available time than a Mum of three peaceful children in a good routine. Our job is to encourage each other in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. We are to embrace our own circumstances and really apply ourselves to making the best of them. I often fall short of this goal, and have to repent, but I do believe that it is important to try not to compare ourselves to others. It would be better to point other Mums to God's word or simply to encourage whatever good they are doing.

* Spending very little time playing with my tiny boy. I read to him a lot but rarely just stopped to interact with him in his simple play.

* Saying "no" to Elnathan many times a day, and encouraging very little. Much of my attention toward him was negative. Thankfully I began to recognise this error around 20 months, and change, but some damage was done.

* I observed/heard about a parenting philosophy in which you left things out (like bins) to train the child not to touch them. Now I wish that I'd just put them away and minimised temptations for him. At one point we were trying to teach him not to pull any books off the shelf, but we were much better off once we gave him his own shelf. He was so happy with that, and left our books alone! "Do unto others" comes to mind. How would I want to be treated if I was a toddling baby just discovering the world? Training in obedience is vital, but we don't need to do that with unnecessary temptations. More recently I listened to Doug Wilson talks ( on loving little ones. He encourages parents to have as few rules as possible, but to enforce them rigorously. Our home should be a garden - think of the Garden of Eden, there was only one thing they were not to take!

* It would have been good to spend more time writing out a vision or philosophy for homemaking and parenting, while I had the time. This may have held me steadier during difficult periods. Now I want to do it but time is scarcer!

* Not establishing regular times for Dave and I to have "dates" at home or elsewhere in which we focused deliberately on building our marriage and listening to one another. We got by well with one child. Later with the second child we discovered after breaches occurred that we needed focused time. Establishing this pattern earlier may have averted pain later.


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